BENGALURU: With worldwide travel restrictions in place and fewer air passengers attributable to Covid-19 concern, high-end automotive operators are a bleak future.
Most luxury taxi operators in the city who’ve bought vehicles like Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi at the moment are scuffling with no clients and business. Many are discovering it tough to pay month-to-month EMIs for the vehicles and drivers’ salaries. They say the variety of purchasers, particularly high-profile guests to the city, has diminished primarily attributable to online conferences, travel restrictions and do business from home.
According to Karnataka State Travel Operators’ Association, the city has over 700 taxi operators and greater than 20,000 luxury cabs. “The luxury car segment mainly caters to business class air passengers. Many airlines provide complimentary pick-up and drop facility for such passengers and they hire vehicles like Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series,” said Okay Radhakrishna Holla, president of the affiliation.
“Earlier, several meetings and conferences used to held, but with offices and establishments shut due to WFH, they have been replaced with webinars and online meetings. We used to ferry investors, company heads and other high-profile passengers associated with IT-BT, aerospace, automobile and pharmaceutical sectors as well as those starting new projects. But due to international travel restrictions, there are hardly any such passengers,” added Holla.
Airport taxi operators additionally said there’s a dip in the demand for luxury autos. Airport Taxi Owners’ Association president Hamid Akbar Ali said: “The demand started dwindling since December 2019 after Covid-19 cases were reported in China. Now, there are only 10-15 luxury car trips from the airport as opposed to 100-200 earlier.”
“We want the government to extend the loan moratorium and waive MV taxes at least till December. Most luxury vehicle owners used to maintain a healthy credit score so banks would sanction loans, but now we are struggling to clear loans, pay drivers’ salaries and office/parking rent and to maintain vehicles. We’ve heard WFH may continue till February 2021; we won’t be able to survive till then,” rued Holla.
Bengaluru International Airport Limited facilitated transit of 38,896 worldwide passengers between April 1 and July 31. However, Kempegowda International Airport dealt with a median of 13,000 worldwide passengers a day earlier than Covid-19.
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