Cabbies in Trashigang worried over plummeting business

Cabbies say it is difficult to even earn Nu 300 per day

A few taxis carrying extra passengers, in-service individuals driving taxis, and private vehicle owners carrying passengers have become major issues for many taxi drivers in Trashigang. 

Most cabbies said they are not able to get passengers and are unhappy with the private vehicles carrying out local transportation. 

They say if such cases continue, it would be difficult to sustain their family working as a cabbie. They added that they rarely earn Nu 10,000 per month these days.

To make a living, a cabbie, Karma, said he had started to work at a construction site and do some other private works.

 He said he tried to sustain himself by driving a taxi, but the situation became difficult and he was forced to leave behind his driving profession.  

For more than 14 months now, Karma has not touched his taxi. But he can be seen at the construction site every day. “If I do not work, there won’t be anything left for my family. I have to work to sustain,” he said.

Including all the heavy vehicle drivers and cabbies, he said almost 50% of them have lost their business with some taking up jobs at work sites and a few others taking up farming at their homes.

“Private vehicles and in-service people driving taxis are the main issues for us for not getting business,” Karma said.

 Another cabbie, Kinley said as a taxi driver, they have experienced a hardship that he had never imagined before. He believed that besides the hit from the Covid-19 pandemic, private vehicles are overtaking the role of taxis and public servants driving taxis.

He said the Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) and the traffic police must take note of the situation and take action. However, he said the issue was reported earlier and there have been no changes.

“In all the dzongkhags, the RSTA needs to impose the same rules and regulations to avoid discrimination,” he said. 

 “Due to the loss in the business, few divorce cases and arguments within families are also happening,” Kinley added.

 Another taxi driver said private vehicles and few taxi drivers are ferrying extra passengers in absence of the traffic police. He said that he could not complain nor inform about it as it deteriorates the relation between them just because of the number of passengers being ferried.

It is learned that most taxi drivers are frustrated with these issues, but they are hesitant to speak up for themselves.

 “It is difficult to get Nu 300 per day which is just enough to buy one meal,” he said.

 Another cabbie, Chechung said travelling to longer distances has come to a halt as they are not able to get passengers.

 He said making rounds in the local areas is just a waste of fuel and he could rarely earn Nu 300 a day. 

 “After the situation, I earn Nu 4,000 per month. Sometimes it is difficult to earn even Nu 1,000 per month. I used to get Nu 50,000 to 60,000 per month before the pandemic,” he said, adding that the situation is worsening.

 He said sometimes he gets one to two passengers per day after waiting for a whole day and that getting all the four passengers has become a rare case now.

Tenzin Lhamo from Trashigang