THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With various public spaces witnessing activity over the past few days, autorickshaw drivers are keeping their fingers crossed. For their daily earnings have nosedived to `300 or lower after the Covid-19 outbreak. While they hoped for better returns on Monday, very few people hired them. According to the corporation, there are close to 40,000 registered autorickshaws from Vizhinjam to Kazhakoottam alone.
Reni Solomon said he had only four trips, that too over very short distances, till noon on Monday.
“Usually, on the way to the city from my home in Neyyattinkara, I get a couple of passengers for the bus ticket fare. There were days when I earned around Rs 2,000. The hope of getting more trips is the reason I come to the city every day, travelling close to 20km,” he said.
The drivers wear masks and some have even placed sanitiser in their vehicles.“But most people who venture out use either their personal vehicles or are on official duty,” Reni said. Anil Kumar, a driver from Sasthamangalam and a representative of the BMS Auto Drivers Union, expressed optimism that the trips may increase.
“I had only 10 trips today. On a good day, I get close to 25 trips. But we expect the numbers to go up with more places reopening from Tuesday,” he said. Shihabudeen Kariyath, president, Auto Drivers Congress, Thiruvananthapuram, said the income increased, but it is nowhere near the pre-Covid days.