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Relaxed norms fail to accelerate cab biz

The partial relaxation in resuming cab services within the district seems to make no difference to most of rental car operators in Madurai and other districts in the southern region. As passenger flights and trains remain in suspended animation since the lockdown, there are no takers for cab services.

Relaxed norms fail to accelerate cab biz
Rental cabs parked at a stand in Madurai


With tourist spots and religious places remaining shut and restrictions on dining in hotels, the cab operators are going through tough times. “It’s threatening the survival of stakeholders relying on this industry,” M Ramanathan, president, Madurai Tourist Cabs Owners Association and vice chairman of Bus Operators Confederation of India (BOCI) told DT Next.

In Madurai, almost 70 per cent of operators relied on tourists, who mostly travel to Rameswaram, Kanniyakumari and Kodaikanal. But the lockdown dashed all hopes. Now, only a few cabs are hired to access hospitals on medical emergencies.

Some cabs were availed by bank staff and insurance companies. But that too did not pick up much as economy is entering into a recession. With around 1,700 cabs in Madurai, operators had no other go but to wait for six months to a year until the rental car industry is revived. The state government’s announcement to offer cash of Rs 1, 000 to each of the cab drivers tends to offer little relief, Ramanathan said.

An aggrieved cab operator K Alagar of Madurai said the government should ponder the fate of operators and waive off quarterly tax. Normally, May month is the peak season. It’s even more painful as cab operators could not meet the demands of tourists bound for Courtallam in Tenkasi district, where water flow is exceptionally good and pleasant weather is prevailing now. “Only when inter-district travel is allowed, it can bring relief to us,” he said.

Cab operators were also wary of need to instal new speed governors.

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