Bengaluru: Most of the auto drivers who bought their autos on loan and unable to pay the loan due to the lockdown imposed as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic. Now their autos with the recovery agents. Thus, the drivers have to pay between Rs. 200 to 400 to rent an auto for a day. Also, with not so many riding autos and the burden of loans, many auto drivers are forced to increase the fares.
Stories of Auto Drivers
A resident of Varthur, Kumar, age 28 years old, has been driving auto from the past eight years. He is the only earning member in his family and supports his parents and younger brother. Before the COVID 19 lockdown, he was doing good and had four autos under his hand but after the lockdown, he is left with nothing.
Kumar tells about his situation, “I took a loan and bought all the autos. This was my only source of income. But in the lockdown, my income comes to a halt and the situation becomes so bad that neither I have money to pay rent or interest of the loan. The recovery agents come to my home, took all the autos, and seized them, as I was not able to pay the interest in the initial three months of lockdown. As I don’t have any other job, so I decided to take an auto on rent and wait for the rides.”
He further informed about the renting process and rides. He says, “I pay Rs. 200 per day for renting an auto and I have to fill the gas from my pocket itself. Sometimes, I get two rides in a day, and sometimes, I didn’t get a single ride at all. Then, I end up the auto in parking and doing some daily wage work like shifting luggage, just to pay off one day Auto’s rent.”
An Auto Driver requests to pay off a little extra on meter fare
Manjunath, another auto drivers, requests extra Rs. 20 on the meter fare says, “I pay Rs 400 per day for renting an auto. And if I don’t earn that much, I have to pay the rent from my own pocket. Three years ago, I purchased an auto on a loan and was paying 15% interest on that. But with the lockdown imposed, it left me with no other option to pay the interest of the loan, and hence, recovery agents seized my auto.”
The recovery agents sometimes sell the auto or rent it on Rs 300 to 400 per day to compensate for the loan amount. Now, the auto driver doesn’t have any other option, thus, he requests the passengers to pay off a little extra, so he can pay his rent. Usually, he makes 20 or 30 Rs extra per day.