Mumbai

Pre-paid taxi business at T2 hit

Fewer rides: Drivers say their income has dropped as now only about 15 passengers arrive on an international flight.

Fewer rides: Drivers say their income has dropped as now only about 15 passengers arrive on an international flight.   | Photo Credit: Vijay Bate

Drop in tourist arrivals amid coronavirus scare increases waiting time of drivers

With people avoiding foreign trips in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak, the business of pre-paid taxi drivers at Terminal 2 of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in the city has been affected.

A sudden drop in international travellers over the past week has resulted in drivers waiting for inordinately long hours for a customer. “Earlier, we had to wait for around four to six hours for a passenger, now it is anywhere between 18 and 20 hours,” said R.B. Panday, who had been waiting at the pick-up point since 9 p.m. on Wednesday and managed to get a customer only at 2.30 p.m. on Thursday. Mr. Panday said in his 20-odd years of ferrying passengers, business had not been this bad.

Ajay Singh, another pre-paid taxi driver, said he has noticed that now only around 15 passengers arrive on an international flight. He said, “Earlier, we would get two to three trips in 24 hours, now we barely get one. From what we hear, matters are only going to get worse.” Mr. Singh said even if they get a passenger, there is no surety that they will earn a good sum. “Regardless of how many hours we spend waiting, we have to go wherever we are assigned to. The fare at times can be as low as ₹200,” he said.

The pre-paid taxis are allowed entry into the parking bays at Terminal 2 in lots of 60 from their holding area outside the airport. Lako Thakur, who has been driving a taxi since 1989, said once inside the terminal, all taxi drivers usually get a customer in 40 minutes, but over the past week, the waiting time has increased to around two to three hours.

At a disadvantage

Badri Yadav, another taxi driver, said they have to compete with Ola and Uber drivers for passengers. He said, “Even app-based cab aggregators have been affected, but we see that passengers who have to travel a long distance choose them over us.” Mr. Yadav said domestic travellers are fewer in number and prefer taking an autorickshaw as they don’t carry much luggage.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 4:53:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/pre-paid-taxi-business-at-t2-hit/article31054210.ece

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