Driving schools say they are struggling to revive their business due to the pandemic and hefty maintenance costs.
Driving schools in Bangalore say they are struggling to recover from the financial losses incurred during the pandemic. Owners say they are yet to clear salaries for their instructors.
“The business is low. I haven’t paid the school rent and my instructors for five months. We aren’t even earning Rs 1 lakh a month. We are managing somehow,” said Anand Kumar, owner of Anand Motor Driving School.
Owners also say that due to low revenue, they are looking at increasing the price of their courses.
“We are maintaining somehow with a lower staff. With the rise in fuel prices as well, it’s getting very difficult to manage. Obviously, we have to increase the price of our course slightly,” said Syed Imran Ahmed, owner of New Santro Driving School.
Students, on the other hand, complain that the existing cost for such courses isn’t affordable for them and a hike will not be feasible.
“It’s becoming quite expensive. They charge Rs 10k for teaching four wheelers and two wheelers which, I feel, is more than necessary. Students can’t afford this price,” said Dikshita Suresh, student at a driving school.
The financial crisis also comes around the time when the Union government has laid down new rules for driving schools, mandating them to have at least one acre of land as infrastructure among other clauses. Driving schools are worried about how they will manage, given their financial conditions.
“I cannot comply with the two acre land requirement. You can’t take two acre land in city area and give training. It requires Rs 20-30crore investment. Even if we make that investment, we will have to charge students Rs 30-50 thousand,” said Babu Mayannagowda, owner of Sree Metro Motor Driving School
Economists say that the informal sector, which comprises industries like driving schools, form a big chunk of the economy. They add that government aid isn’t possible for them due to a lack of data.
“We don’t have clear cut data (on the informal sector). When you formulate policies, we need to have adequate documented information regarding the sector so that it (policies) would be more effective,” said Sampath Sambasivan, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics at SIES College.