Prior to the pandemic, cabs in the city were making good money and were doing good business overall. There was a lot of demand, and cab drivers, in general, enjoyed a good life. But the pandemic turned their lives upside down. Like other gig workers, cab drivers too lost demand as the IT sector was in the 'work from home' mode. While there were regular pick-ups, their main bread and butter were clients from IT companies, and this stopped completely.
Of course, the government has made it clear that employees must return to work; many small and medium companies are still continuing the WFH option, making it very difficult for cab drivers to break even in a day. Also, the increased fuel prices are giving no respite to them.
Just like the support staff of these companies, gig workers such as food delivery agents, cab drivers too are now in financial trouble. One cab driver revealed that he was earning a good Rs 75,000 per month till the pandemic broke out. Ever since he has been earning less than half of that.
According to JAC chairman Shaik Salauddin, many cab drivers are also staying off roads as they are unable to renew their essential documents. On the flip side, the big IT companies that spoke of permanent WFH are now calling their employees back. With a massive vaccination drive, the companies are keen on getting back the employees.
Though some are contemplating a hybrid model where the employees will work for a couple of days from the office, it surely provides some relief to gig workers and cab drivers.