corporate drivers

[disclaimer: this is only within limits of my current understanding, any corrections/clarifications welcome]

Actually we say that software and BPO is also producing jobs for others, eg for countless drivers of company shuttles and cabs. This is true, there is no doubt that they are better off employed than looking around aimlessly for jobs. However perhaps their circumstances could be a bit better.

Whenever I chat with drivers, inspite of some discount for exaggeration or pessimisism, I find that their lives are actually very very tough. Sometimes they’re demanded to work non stop for days together. Why not employ more people and split the shifts? This decision is typically not with the company itself, but the decision of the contractors to whom transportation is outsourced to. And I suppose they have their own reasons and financial model which works for them – in any case they wouldn’t be too happy paying more
salaries to more number of drivers so try to “optimize” on the number available.

At times I’ve noticed that they drivers are quite worn out. And for them, there’s no concept of overtime – no matter how hard they work, the pay is flat per month. They sometimes are quite tense, which reflects in occasional brief outbursts of road rage or arguments with cops or even their boss. Occasional and very brief, because they know that such things could cost them their job – this happens inspite of being careful.

Consider the idea of driving in the Bangalore traffic itself. A private car owner driving in dense traffic if he is even slightly attached to his car (there are only a handful who aren’t) is paranoid every moment some vehicle comes close – oh no… my car might get dented or scratched! The stakes are the pain of going through the insurance paperwork or the expenses of the repair or so on. Hence for those who cannot take all this impersonally, car driving almost becomes a traumatic affair – best avoided as far as possible. But imagine the stakes for the driver – the stakes of any minor accident could be a very significant fraction of his income to the loss of his very livelihood.

And just to help, on some occasions employees complain that they are rude (or can’t speak English properly), or that they’re late for a pickup (road and traffic conditions dosen’t matter) Of course on the other hand there are a lot of other employees who are really quite friendly to them as well.

One thing I realise is that I actually owe these drivers some gratitude for conveying me successfully to and from office everyday. On the one hand, we can say its “just their job” and they better do it else they get replaced. On the other hand, its the job of a software professional to produce high quality software, but still there are bugs, largely due to a certain amount of negligience. But in the software industry, bug-fixing is an almost inevitable and well-known part of the lifecycle of a project itself.

But in their case, any negligence from them in their job – and my limbs if not my very life is at stake! So I believe I certainly owe them my gratitude every single day for having taking any liberty.

Not that I’m some kind of activist that I want to take up any kind of cause for them – not even sure if thats necessary at all in the first place 🙂 – but I think one thing that least one could do that does not involve any
special effort is to smile and be friendly to them. Not a blind rule for every day which may well become yet another mechanical routine, but once in a way if and when one really feels like it… to try and see the fellow
human being in them.

3 Responses to “corporate drivers”

  1. Kalyan Says:

    [Related Story] I’ve heard from a friend that SRS (one of the corporate cabs agency) operates ~3500 cabs in bangalore. Now, that means…

    3500 (no. of cabs)
    * 100 (avg. kms done by a cab per day)
    * 5 (approx. rate per km)
    * 22 (no. working days per month)
    = 3,85,00,000

    Close to 4 crores of monthly turnover! Even at a modest 10% margin, they must be making about 40 lakhs a month!!

  2. Anand Says:

    Hi,

    I agree with your point and still there is no body to speak for them. We on the other side have classified them as being very rough on the road, not going in deep and understanding on what is going on in their life.

    Regards
    Anand.V

  3. Madhava Prakash Says:

    Now that 5 Crore looks lucrative. Around 60 Crores per Year. Man I want to own a Services company too.

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