Hot wheels: Navigating Delhi’s heat as a taxi driver

Location IconGhaziabad district, Uttar Pradesh
a taxi driver sitting at the wheel-climate change impact
Even when I don’t have a passenger, I have to switch on the air conditioning because my phone overheats and stops working. | Picture courtesy: India Development Review

I’ve been working as a taxi driver with a private company in Delhi (NCT) for the past year. I live in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, with my wife and two children, and my day typically starts at 6:30 am and ends at 11 pm. I took a loan to buy a Wagon R that I could drive as a taxi, and most of my daily income goes towards paying off the loan instalments.

On an average, I earn INR 1,800 in a day. However, this summer my earnings have reduced significantly—to INR 1,200 a day. Some days, this amount is as little as INR 400.

The primary reason for this is the heat, due to which we have to switch on the air conditioning on every ride. Even when I don’t have a passenger, I have to switch on the air conditioning because my phone overheats and stops working. As a result, sometimes I can’t access the taxi app on my phone. This causes delays in starting trips, which annoys the passengers, and also prevents me from getting new trips. I have been placing a towel on the stand behind the phone to protect it from the heat, but this hasn’t been helping much. I only bought this phone last year, and it’s already giving me problems.

Due to the constant use of air conditioner, I have to get the CNG gas cylinder refilled almost every day, which costs me INR 700–800 daily. Additionally, in the evening when I get hungry, I end up buying something from the roadside. Even though I take food from home in the morning, I have to eat it within two to three hours or else it gets spoilt.

All of these expenses have impacted my daily earnings drastically. In the past few months, I’ve had to borrow money from relatives and friends to pay off my car instalments.

 Arjun Singh is a taxi driver in Delhi (NCT).

Know more: Read this article to learn more about how Delhi’s homeless are battling sleeplessness due to extreme heat.


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