According to Ali Aslani, Deputy Chief of the Iranian Taxi Driver Association, from February to November, taxi drivers’ daily incomes have decreased by nearly 65 percent. He estimated that this percentage is equivalent to more than 8 trillion rials [$32 million] disadvantage for this business.
“In metropolitans, there are 123,888 taxi drivers working with an average daily income of 1.8 million rials [$7.20]. There are 296,112 others who are working in different cities with an average daily income of 1.1 million rials [$4.40],” Aslani said.
In this respect, the monthly income of a taxi driver is less than 55 million rials [$220]. Notably, these people must spend more than half of this money on gas and car maintenance expenditures.
Furthermore, the taxi driver is one of the most vulnerable careers, particularly in the coronavirus era. Due to their job conditions, they have to go onto the streets to make ends meet. In the most dangerous situation and while Covid-19 claims hundreds of lives every day, this tailor strata must continue its job with close relations with passengers.
In other words, to gain meager money, they must endure their work’s difficulties, including high prices of spare parts, worn-out cars, gas and tire prices, on the one hand, and coronavirus risks and additional expenditures of health and hygienic items and equipment on the other hand. They also must be patient under any condition.
Health and hygienic expenditures, including face masks, gloves, and protection shields that separates drivers from passengers, cost around 100,000 rials [$0.40] per day. On the other hand, drivers must pick up only one passenger at a time due to health protocols, which means another disadvantage for these strata.
This is while, the price of essential goods occasionally changes every hour, and these people must work hard to earn a meager living. In such circumstances, health measures are not a priority for them, and their main concern is how to feed their families.
On December 27, in an interview with Eqtesad Online website, Aslani provided an estimation of taxi drivers’ disadvantage during the Covid-19 pandemic. “In the past 10 months, taxi drivers suffered by exactly 8,269,921,600,000 rials [$33.08 million],” said the Deputy Chief of the Iranian Taxi Driver Association, adding, “This amount has surpassed 10 trillion rials [$40 million] until November 20.”
“Van taxi drivers dealt with the most disadvantage because their conditions are far worse than other drivers. They faced the largest decrease in income,” Aslani said.
Notably, since the emergence of Covid-19 in Iran, at least 86 taxi drivers have lost their lives to the disease only in the capital Tehran.