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Cabbies losing business to City Buses in Thimphu City

Being a cab driver is considered an excellent allegory for being an entrepreneur despite any educational background. And cabbies business, like any other business, aims to increase revenue. However, the cheaper fare and ameliorated bus services in Thimphu city have led to a slump in cab passengers. The government has highlighted the importance of placing public transport services at the heart of all development. They see this as a way to reduce car dependency, break the need for car ownership, and road congestion, lower carbon emissions, fight climate change and reduce environmental pollution. City buses, as one of the shared mobility, are the most environmentally friendly transit alternatives besides being a very cost-effective alternative in the city. The decision to improve bus services could also ensure that people have equitable access to jobs, healthcare and other services. While the government’s move to improve city bus services relieved the public who depends on public transportation, many cab drivers are concerned about their business and source of livelihood. The findings of the study showed that about 80% of cabbies are dissatisfied with the government’s move in increasing the number of city buses and claimed that it had taken a huge slump in their business. Thus, cab drivers' compromises could socially and economically impact their livelihood. This could also lead to a situation where cab drivers might charge higher than normal rates to offset their loss of business to cheaper city bus services which again will reduce the number of cab passengers. Therefore, the cab drivers suggested policy changes regarding the bus operation hours. They want city buses to run for minimum hours to have sustainable, equal earnings. These suggestions could, however, limit the ability of the government to deliver its ambitions in the future and could be seen as a barrier.

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