Is the future of EV drivers safe in the Nepal’s transportation industry?
Earlier this week, we spoke to Mrs. Devi Shrestha who is the owner and driver of her safa-tempo (electric-vehicle). As we move forward with the pandemic posed by COVID-19, transportation industry has taken a huge hit from the government as well as the public. Especially, for safa-tempo owners like Mrs. Shrestha, there’s not much space in the tempo for maintaining social distance. She shared that the vehicle carries only 3–4 people for one trip. Thats less than half of the capacity of a safa-tempo.
With the public opting to other transportation services, it is difficult for safa-tempo owners/drivers to maintain a steady income. The government didn’t allow the safa-tempo owners to charge higher as a result they are forced to run their services on the edge. The odd-even rules for vehicles in Nepal has made their survival even more difficult. Mrs. Shrestha says she earns NPR. 1500 or less than that nowadays. On top of that she has electricity bills to pay which is NPR. 500 per day. Sadly, she only earns NPR. 1000 per day with an unplayable amount of risk from COVID-19.
With a few passengers on the seat, electricity bill to pay for tempo and micro-finances asking us to pay the installments on time, I think there’s a high chance of more worsening conditions for us in the transportation industry.
— Mrs. Devi Shrestha
Like many other micro-entrepreneurs, Mrs. Shrestha has also taken loans from micro-finances to support her transportation business. Those micro-finances have been asking for timely payment of the installments and interests which is worsening the financial condition of these micro-entrepreneurs.