The popularity of the city’s old, yellow taxi took a beating with the entry of app-based cabs, became worse post lockdown.
Kolkata: With drivers leaving jobs and owners withdrawing their money from this business, yellow taxis of Kolkata are dying a slow death.The City’s iconic, yellow taxi is finding it tough to attract passengers since the arrival of app-based cabs like Ola and Uber, in 2015. In a survey it has been seen that the demand for taxis has fallen by 10 percent initially, and later, by nearly 60 percent. Drivers refusing to go to some places, is also a reason for the fall in demand. The pandemic made it worse..
Passengers say app-based cabs are more accessible and they don’t refuse to ply. “I often use taxis for travelling, but was irritated by the constant refusal from the drivers. After the app-based cabs, it’s become more convenient and, in this scenario, where hygiene and safety are the first priority, I rely more on online cabs rather than the taxi,” says Soumojit Mullick, a passenger who works in the IT Sector.
The cars are quite old and due to low income, it’s hard for the drivers to maintain the cars. Many owners shifted their investment towards Uber and Ola as they feel Uber and Ola are more profitable. “I used to have seven taxis in total, withdrew three last year and am thinking of withdrawing the rest as well. Investing in taxis doesn’t provide me any profit.” As passengers mainly look for comfort and it’s hard to pay for a Fitness Certificate every year, many such owners have withdrawn taxis.
Previously there used to be more than 40,000 taxis in the city and now it’s hardly 10,000. The Secretary of Calcutta Taxi Association says, “With the pandemic the demand for the taxi has fallen more as people cannot trust taxis with safety and hygiene. Along with that, due to shut down of schools, no international flights, trains, people mainly working from home, the market demand has worsened.”