Covid-19: App-based cab drivers yearn for cash payments to pay for fuel and meals
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At a time when people are switching to digital modes of monetary transactions, it's the app cab drivers, who are yearning for cash payments.

Amid the pandemic, passengers prefer contactless payments through e-wallets, which drivers and cab owners say are a worry for them as the amount is eventually credited to their accounts only after some days.

"Payments made by customers through digital getaways takes three-four days in order to get credited in our account," said Roshan Kumar, a cab driver. He also mentioned, for the trips made on weekend, credit may take upto five days.

Following the imposition of the nationwide lockdown on March 22, cab drivers had a tough time battling financial constraints. Even though cabs were allowed to ply, during the initial phase of lockdown the lack of passengers stretched their dry run.

"Things started to improve since mid-August as people started coming out. We have been so broke in the last six months that we don't have any savings left right now" said Junaid Sheikh, another cab driver.

"When we get cash payments, we can pay for the day's fuel charges and our meals. When the payments are digital we need to wait a bit longer" explained Sheikh.

The cab aggregators have not offered the drivers any compensation. After each trip they still charge the drivers 25 per cent commission.

"When they pay us in cash, we get to keep the whole money and return the commission after the end of month. But incase of the digital payments we get the money only after they deduct their commission rates" stated Kumar.

During the lockdown, most of the cab drivers went broke. Some had to switch professions in order to make their ends meet. Both Sheikh and Junaid had switched professions and took vegetable selling and grocery delivery.

Meanwhile cab owners also maintained, they never insist their passengers for cash payment, however they want them to know about their other side as well.

"A cab driver needs to have extra money other than his earnings. He need to pay the fuelling and servicing charges, incase the police permits him he needs to have money for that as well or else his license will be confiscated" said Amrish Deshmukh, a transport businessman.

"When they get cash payments, they are able to take care of these basic expenses, which has become difficult now as amid the pandemic outbreak, large number of people have chosen to pay through digital getaways" Deshmukh stated.

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Free Press Journal