Transport operators, taxi drivers, and even delivery personnel who have tied up with apps have been badly hit by skyrocketing fuel prices.
For some, like Rana Pratap who works as a delivery executive, life is becoming “unbearable” as he spends most of his earnings on fuel. “Every day we spend anywhere between₹350 and ₹500 on fuel alone. There are people who spend 12 to 15 hours on the road. In addition to fuel expenses, there are other costs such as food and servicing of vehicles twice a month,” he said.
Most food delivery partners do not have the luxury of carrying food from home and rely on roadside eateries. “At a time when our daily expenses are increasing, our earnings from delivery have dropped drastically due to a new pay system introduced by our aggregator,” Mr. Pratap added.
For transport operators who provide services to IT companies and tourists, the problem is compounded by other factors such as shortage of vehicles. Many operators had sold their vehicles during the pandemic and are reluctant to re-enter given the current situation.
“Diesel prices are touching ₹95. We had planned to increase fares considering the consistent price rise but have dropped it for now as we are hoping that rates may drop in May,” said Radhakrishna Holla, president of Karnataka State Tourist Operators Association.
Meanwhile, due to the steep rise in bulk purchase of diesel, Road Transport Corporations in the State are sending their vehicles to retail outlets for refuelling. “It is an inevitable move to lessen the financial burden. By purchasing fuel from retail outlets, we save ₹14 per litre of diesel,” said an official of the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC).
People who rely on private vehicles to commute are also demanding that both the State and Central Governments cut down the cost of fuel. “I spend close to ₹4,500 to ₹5,000 on fuel every month. Last year, the Government intervened, and it should do so again,” said Jayashankar from Bengaluru, who relies on his car to commute.