India and Auto-Rickshaws for Tourist
Hailing an auto-rickshaw or taxi on Indian roads without being fleeced can be a tricky business, especially if you are a foreigner, a tourist and new to India.
India and Auto-Rickshaws – How to keep a ride just that – a simple ride!!!
- When hiring auto-rickshaws (three-wheeled vehicles used for public transport) or taxis, ask the driver to use meters or decide on a price beforehand before going for the ride; else you will be taken for a ride (pun intended) and charged exorbitant rates.
- If going by meter, keep an eye on it lest it has been ‘doctored’ to run faster than it should. If the meter is ticking faster than ever, tell the auto to stop and hail a different auto or decide on the price with the driver after calling him on his trick right away.
- You can also ask the driver to show you his rate card. These rate cards are published by the transport department and show the rates on kilometre basis.
- There are two sides to every card – one side shows the Day fare and the other side shows the Night fare. So ensure, you are checking the right side. Even locals are fooled into paying the higher Night rates if they are not cautious. In Delhi, night rates apply between 11.00 PM till 05:00 AM.
- However, in most cities in India auto-rickshaw drivers do not charge by the meter. Instead they charge on their own, according to their whims. So, it is best to consult a local, such as a hotel or restaurant staffer for an idea about the average fare.
- If an auto-rickshaw driver suggests some very good shop and drives you to it, be sure that he will be walking away with a big commission for bringing you to the shop. This is a trend in most tourist cities in India.
- The same tactic is often repeated by auto-rickshaw and even some taxi drivers when driving you to your hotel. Midway, they may suddenly spring up an excuse of a closed road or a hotel that has shut down for renovations or something else. But of course, they know just the perfect alternative accommodation for you. Beware, for they will end up taking you to a seedy hotel and end up with a hefty commission on the side. Just say ‘No’ to their so called good-will and insist on being taken to the hotel you have booked.