Cab drivers have been booked for more than 45,000 traffic violations in September 2019. They blame the intense pressure to complete more trips a day.
Cab drivers in the city are being regularly booked for traffic violations. They, however, feel that app-based cab companies are to blame since they put them under pressure to complete more trips.
In 2019, so far, the Bangalore Traffic Management Centre (TMC), recorded 4, 70,117 cases of cabs booked under the Motor Vehicles Act and collected Rs.82.72 lakhs in fines. These primarily involved 41,844 cases of reckless driving, 44,536 cases of over speeding, 17,031 cases of carrying excess passengers, 31,500 cases of drunken driving, etc.
In 2019 so far, 4,70,117 traffic charges have been pressed against cab drivers. Shankar, a cab driver said,“I have to complete a minimum of 18 trips in this traffic-stricken city to earn a living.. Sometimes, I have to over-speed, overtake and risk my life too, in order to have my job at the end of the day.”.
An employee at the TMC, Manjunath said, “The cabs in the city are only around 20 per cent of the total vehicular population according to the records of December, 2017. However, the number of cases that have been registered with the traffic police against the cab drivers, and the companies they work in, are the highest as compared to other modes of transport.”
The drivers complain that completing 18 trips in a day is a big task, forcing them to break the rules. Shaik Sirajuddin, who has been driving a cab for the past couple of years said, “It is the company which has set these stringent rules and regulations for us. Why are we to be blamed for breaking rules? We are not the only ones responsible. It is the company that is responsible too.”.”
Prashanth M, Sub-inspector of Indiranagar Traffic Police Station agreed. He said that more than the drivers, the companies are at fault.He said, “The company has no definite rules for the drivers who drive for about 150-200 kilometres every day. If they take rides at peak hours, they get more money. So, the drivers try to complete as many rides as they can and end up breaking the traffic rules.”
Another cab driver, Ramakrishna J, 45, said, “Earlier, I used to drive an auto. It is only last year that I’ve got into this cab business. The money I get is really good as compared to what I used to get. But, the amount of work is tripled. I leave my home at 9 AM and finish my duty at 10 PM. Between these time slots, I’ve to complete as many trips as I can. I don’t have a choice.” The only incentive for the cab drivers to continue is the money they earn, he added.
The companies, on the other hand, state that the number of trips that the drivers make is entirely their own decision. Marketing manager of a cab rental company said, “There is a minimum limit set by us but it is upon the driver if he wants to take more number of trips. We are nobody to pressurize him. He can go for shorter trips and get done with his duty or do a couple of trips to airport and logout from the system. There is no hard and fast rule from our end”.
Customers who use cabs on a daily basis agree that the cab drivers usually break traffic rules. Radha Lakshmi, who frequently uses cabs to go to her college said, “I use share cabs mostly because they are cheap. So, it is not new for me to see the driver without his seat-belt on, or jumping the signal or honking unnecessarily. This happens all the time. Initially I used to point it out to them but,later, I stopped.” Traffic Expert, M.N Shreehari, said, “The problem can be resolved only if the companies have stricter rules for the drivers when it comes to violation of traffic rules. Even the traffic police ought to ensure that the companies as well as the drivers are fined for it.”