On Tuesday morning, March 24th, a taxi driver received a fine from the Security Forces for violating one of the lockdown rules that doesn’t allow more than one rider in his car.
In despair at a fine he can’t possibly pay, he reacted by setting fire to his car, which caused him burn-injuries and had to be rushed to the hospital.
Taxi and bus drivers in Lebanon have been already suffering from the economic crisis before the Coronavirus, and now even more with their business activities declining to the minimum.
A man by the name Mohamad Faour created a fundraiser on Twitter in order to raise funds for the taxi driver who has now lost his livelihood.
According to the fundraiser, the taxi driver whom he referred to as “Salim” burned his car because he cannot afford to pay the fine amounting to 3,000,000 Lebanese pounds (about $2,000).
There are several reasons the taxi and bus drivers believe that their business is declining. Some say it is because of the rise of ride-sharing services like Uber that has price points that they are simply unable to compete with.
Some said that their work had been declining over the recent months due to the revolution and such.
Another issue that has been raised is that, despite the decreasing value of the Lebanese currency, which is now being sold at 2750LL per dollar as of the time of writing, taxi drivers generally do not dare to raise the prices of fares so their customer base wouldn’t shrink further.
So, with all things considered, these acts of desperation are understandable in such a crisis. Taxi drivers are one of those people who rely on daily income in order to survive.
Who will help them pay their bills when no one is allowed to leave their homes?
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