Mon, 20 May 2024 Today's Paper

A Sad Plight

14 January 2022 12:05 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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A user of local taxi services for most of my getting around Colombo and to the outstations,  I have been using the many available taxi services including the three wheelers. 


Towards the end of November and the entirety of December 2021 it was almost impossible to book or hire a taxi from any company as life had come back to normal and many, including the diaspora and foreigners who were visiting our island, were using their services.  This was quite frustrating.  Yet, I was happy that business was booming.  


Last week I was successful in booking a taxi after great difficulty.  The driver was a very pleasant being as well as chatty.  In conversation with him I asked whether both the owners and the drivers of the taxi service were delighted with the demand for their services, given that even when getting a taxi in the wee hours of the morning was near impossible now.  

 

Now that the holiday season is over, the majority are only purchasing bare essentials to survive. The power cuts that we are now experiencing will add to this sad plight and soon it will all simply boil down to basic survival.

 

I was quite shocked and sad to learn the reality for the dearth in service.  According to the driver, there has been no increase in demand but the mere lack of vehicles.  Almost 75% of the drivers who had leased their vehicles had been unable to meet their monthly payments had no choice but to flog the vehicle.  Compounded with the value of vehicles having shot up most drivers had felt that selling their vehicles was the best option available to them.  The available taxis right now amount to 25% or a bit more. 

The driver also said that he was now terrified that with the recent hike in fuel prices and associated costs the general public will think twice before stepping into a taxi.  He said that he felt people were now getting about in a taxi only when they felt it was necessary or essential and that most seem to manage with patronising the shops etc. in their immediate neighbourhood. 

 
The indiscriminate price hikes that we are currently experiencing is quite alarming not only for taxi drivers but all of us.  Now that the holiday season is over, the majority are only purchasing bare essentials to survive. The power cuts that we are now experiencing will add to this sad plight and soon it will all simply boil down to basic survival.


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