14 June, 2021

Booked For A Rough Ride

Lured in by huge incentives initially, radio taxi drivers feel betrayed by their companies

Drop Point
Radio taxi drivers ­protesting at Jantar Mantar, Delhi
Photograph by Sanjay Rawat
Booked For A Rough Ride

Walk into Jantar Mantar in Delhi and you’re greeted with a row of Swift Dzires and Wagon Rs with yellow number plates. Around them stand their owners and drivers, wearing desolate expressions on their faces; most wondering when they will be able to get back on the road.

The radio taxi driver strike, which started on February 10, has now come to what can be best referred to as an impasse between the driver-unions and the companies they work for. While the drivers associated with the platform can in no way see their demands being met by eit­her the government or their employers, the need to earn money and sustain families as well as pay off huge debts they are in because of the job, has put them in a difficult spot—to drive for such companies under meagre pay or to hold on and fight for what they believe they deserve.

Muhammad Anees, a resident of Delhi, left a well-paying job as a driver for a government employee to join Uber after he was promised an income of at least Rs 1.5 lakh a month by the company executive. He bought two cars on loan from Kotak...

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