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Taxi drivers tune to interactive radio

Update: September, 17/2015 - 09:37
The Voice of Viet Nam's VOV traffic channel established an interactive radio programme, called "I'm a driver", allowing drivers to share their thoughts and experiences. — Illustrative Photo

HA NOI (VNS) — It is not unusual for Ly Quoc Anh, 39, to start his work day at 7am, driving taxi passengers around Ha Dong District until long after the sun sets.

He left the outskirts of Thuong Tin District of Ha Noi to become a taxi driver for Van Xuan Taxi Company, but by the end of the day, he has little time to spend with his family. "I almost have no time to help my wife to pick up my daughter or cook meals," said Anh, who has worked as a driver for a decade.

He is one of about 70,000 taxi drivers in Ha Noi, many whom have relocated to the city from other provinces. In an attempt to address some of the common frustrations and hardships faced by taxi drivers, the Voice of Viet Nam's VOV traffic channel established an interactive radio programme allowing drivers to share their thoughts and experiences.

The first installation of "I'm a driver" will be broadcast next Wednesday. The programme is being supported by GrabTaxi Viet Nam Co. Ltd.

Anh said he hopes it will serve as an outlet to voice the challenges that he and other taxi drivers share. Despite working 12 or more hours per day, he said it is barely enough to cover his basic living expenses.

"Money to rent a house, to send my daughter to school, to buy milk for my little son, who was just born several months ago, and to cover a billion other things in daily life," he said, listing his expenses.

Anh pays about VND2 million (US$88) per month to rent a room for his four-member family.

He said his job is also risky, especially while carrying passengers long distances or late at night. On one occasion, a male passenger refused to pay him VND2.2 million ($97) after Anh drove him a long distance.

"I had to use my own money to cover the expense. It's really bad," he said.

Pham Trung Tuyen, deputy head of the VOV traffic channel, said during a meeting yesterday that the programme aims to serve as a listening ear – perhaps even as a friend - to ­­the thousands of taxi drivers in Viet Nam who share similar stories and predicaments.

The interactive programme is designed to answer questions from drivers across the country and alleviate drivers' pressures in their professional and personal lives, he said.

Khuat Viet Hung, vice chairman of the National Committee for Traffic Safety, said the programme is imperative because millions of passengers are able to travel safely every day, thanks to taxi drivers. — VNS

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