Scarborough, Tobago – Taxi drivers are feeling the pinch as the road is especially “hard” with schools closed and all non-essential workers being told to stay at home.
On a visit to Scarborough on Tuesday, PH and legitimate taxi drivers told Newsday they have been hard-hit by the measures adopted to prevent the spread of covid19 as fewer people are travelling.
One taxi driver, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said they are doing all they can to keep themselves and their passengers safe without shutting down their service, but they face a loss of earnings.
“The slowdown is affecting everyone.
“We got hard-hit but like everyone else, we have to try to cope. Everyone has bills, some of us have mortgage, rents, food bills, loans, children to take care of… most of us depend solely on this taxi work for our livelihood, so we have to be here. It really hard for us,” he said.
Another driver said his colleagues are taking even longer to get a trip, even with the number of passengers slashed in half.
“We done barely have people travelling and on top of that the government have placed the restriction of limited passengers. A car usually carries four passengers per trip, so you telling me now when I have two passengers, that’s my trip.
“To leave here with two passengers and head to Crown Point is literally making no sense. A trip, give or take you’ll usually make around $40-$50 and some people would drop off short at Lambeau, the mall. Now when I do two passengers per trip and both passengers going right down into Crown Point, that’s $16 on average, what’s the point?”
Another driver added that while he understood covid19 is a worldwide challenge, he wants the Government to assist taxi drivers.
“There needs to be something put in place for drivers to be compensated if the Government wants us to carry fewer passengers, because it is a financial burden for us. We are really trying to obey the requests of the government but on a real, like it’s best we stay home,” he said.
“Let’s say you hustling for a man, which most case is the scenario of most of the drivers… what can you really make for yourself, because the owners of these vehicles expecting their monies as normal eh,” he added.
The Government has announced a $1,500 salary grant relief for all workers who have been retrenched, terminated or had their income reduced owning to covid19.
Another driver said in addition to not using air condition during their trips, some drivers, those who can afford it, have been providing sanitisers for use by the passengers on every trip.
“We don’t have the facilities for people to wash their hands before they enter our vehicles but some of the drivers are providing hand sanitisers, but what about those who are unable to do such… it might be not financially viable given the cost of sanitisers right now.”
– Source: Kinnesha George – newsday.co.tt