In this episode, autorickshaw driver Girish shares details of his journey driving a school auto in the city of Bengaluru.
Girish has been in Bengaluru for the past 29 years and for the past 11, he has been driving an autorickshaw. He picks up the children from their homes at around 8:25 am and drops them on time to the school. In the afternoons, he has to be back on time to pick the children up from school, and is, thus, forced to forego any other ride he may be getting then, even the well-paying ones. That’s a loss and is part of the job. “Nowadays, school buses are used more commonly, which has been creating a problem for us. We don’t get enough bookings. On Saturdays, we have pick-ups in the afternoon and Sundays are holidays. We do not get paid for Sundays.”
The school rickshaw income helps Girish pay his house rent and purchase other essentials. “Still, I have many financial struggles. Also, private vehicles are being used increasingly. They usually load fully with kids, while we in an auto fit only five to six children at one go. It is a lot of responsibility when it comes to driving a school auto. When we fall sick, we have to request a friend to fill in and pay them from our own pocket. We must inform the parents and give them the auto number so that they don’t worry when a new auto-driver comes by.”
Girish says that it’s not only the money, it’s also his responsibility to take care of the children. He waits near the school gate until they all enter the gate in the mornings.
Listen in to know more!