Mumbai: Fleet cab drivers being wooed by holiday vouchers, freebies

Apr 27, 2013, 07:02 IST | Shashank Rao

Being a fleet cab driver may be come a more popular career choice soon. Following shortage of trained drivers, operators are leaving no stone unturned in making sure that they don't lose their drivers to competitors

Two months ago, TABCab started a scheme for their drivers wherein they provide a holiday trip by air to those drivers selected on the basis of their performance, behaviour with passengers, condition of vehicle, etc.

 “We are sending drivers and their families on paid holidays by air for an all-expenses covered 3-day stay in any other city,” said Prasenjeet Bagchi, TABCab. According to the firm, many drivers dream of travelling by air and so this particular scheme was initiated. Similarly, Meru Cabs have started gifting vouchers of major retail chains amounting to Rs 25,000 to their drivers. “These are rewards which are mainly performance-driven,” said Siddhartha Pahwa, CEO, Meru Cabs.

Acting in fear
The real reason behind the start of these novel perks is the fear losing the drivers to competition. “The number of trained taxi drivers in the city is very less. They have to allure black and yellow taxi drivers as well who are in big numbers,” said an RTO officer. The constant threat of drivers going on strike is one of the major fears hounding fleet companies. Only a few months back, there was a huge strike called by the driver unions of Meru Cabs.

At present, there are no unions amongst drivers in TABCab. The operator also fears that such problems shouldn’t hound them and so claim to be taking these steps in order to keep the drivers happy. Apart from this, there is shortage of drivers due to the summer holidays, which ultimately is leading to lesser cabs on the roads.

Numbers on wheels
TABCab has around 1,500 fleet cabs on roads out of 1,850 available. Similarly, out of 1,650 vehicles, Meru Cabs has around 1,200 plying on any given day. Around 4,000 taxi permits are to be opened soon by the state government. During this time, fleet companies don’t want their drivers to leave them. TABCab claims that they will be adding another 950 cabs to their fleet in another month or so, taking their fleet to 2,800. While Meru Cabs, whose fleet came down by 300 cabs, claims it will add another 1,000 cabs within a year. The downfall in number of cabs is mainly due to wear and tear, and scrapping of old vehicles.  

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