Truly a Thruebab gift
It was a matter of great relief for the taxi drivers approaching the age of sixty and just wondering what they will do after crossing the age limit. Further there was always a confusion of civil servants and corporate employees driving taxis during off hours to supplement their income and support their family.
The Ministry of Information and Communications last Thursday announced that the age limit of the taxi drivers will be increase from 60 to 65 years based on the recommendations submitted by the Road Safety and Transport Authority. The views were submitted based on the request received from the taxi operators.
The Ministry had taking into account the dependence on the occupation by petitioners as the primary means of incomes, changing structure of Bhutanese society and family structure. Further large nos of taxi drivers and their dependents will also be affected and there is an increase in the life expectancy of the Bhutanese to 68 years. The road conditions have improved significantly and there is improvement in car technology and safety features.
It has been noted in the submission made by the RSTA that many taxi drivers are not well educated and are entirely dependent on driving taxi as a main source of livelihood and there has been marked improvement in road condition and the quality of vehicles. Further practical knowledge and skills of the drivers have also improved through regular driver educational programs and there has been a marked improvement in general health facilities, thereby leading to improvement in health of the operators.
The ministry checked the best practices within the region and found that India allows taxi-operating license up to 68 years of age and 65 years in Bangladesh. It’s 73 years in Singapore and 70 years in Hong Kong.
There are a total of 303 PDL holders who will be affected within next 15 months. Taking an average dependency ratio at the lower end of 4 persons per PDL holder that adds up to 1,212 people whose primary income earners will no longer have stable income and regular source of income
Increase in age limit for affected taxi drivers as proposed and recommended ensures longer income sustainability of those affected, all of whom are too old to be employed in other occupations, or too old also to be re-trained with other skills for alternate jobs.
Corporate Employees are also allowed to operate the taxis during off-hours primarily to supplements their income and support their family. However, different corporate agencies have their specific service rules to guide the employees on operation of taxis during off – hours then the employees should be guided by it accordingly.
It was truly a Thruebab gift for the taxi operators.