Call taxis, the catchword in modern age transport system, is taking a heavy toll on the truck sector. Transporters say they are witnessing a large number of truck drivers turning cabbies, thus causing a shortage in the workforce of heavy vehicle drivers.
“Anywhere between 30 and 40 per cent of lorry drivers have shifted to driving call taxis in the recent past,” said Sanjay Nagpal, secretary, Chennai Goods Transport Association. He spoke during the distribution of educational assistance for 203 school students organised by the association here on Sunday. “With call taxis being convenient in terms of plying for shorter distance, truck drivers have started prefering taxis,” he added.
Moreover, the mushrooming of light carrier vehicles such as share autos is yet another reason that has driven drivers away from heavy vehicles.
“Any heavy vehicle carrier driving license holder can operate light carrier vehicles as per the norms. This has also led to the decline in number of truck drivers in country and Tamil Nadu in particular,” he noted.
According to estimates, there are about eight lakh truck drivers in the State. Out of the 50 lakh trucks that operate in the country, Tamil Nadu alone accounts for 15 to 20 per cent, said Sanjay Kumar Gupta, vice president of the association.
“We are taking several initiatives to retain drivers in truck industry. The salary of truck drivers has been hiked three fold. A driver whose monthly income was Rs 10,000 five years back, now gets around Rs 25, 000,” he claimed.
Besides that, educational assistance is being offered to the wards of drivers, and their families are being covered under family insurance, they said.