Written by Umang Saini
In my 4+ years of experience of travelling in Auto-rickshaw's, I've found that a most of them employ one of three tactics to maximize their revenues -
- 10-20% faster meter
- Take you via 10-20% longer route
- Coerce you to agree for a high fixed charge
Current prices in Bengaluru are -
- Rs. 7 per km. (minimum hire - 2km)
- 1.5-2 times the rate from 10PM to 6AM
Here are few tips while hiring an three wheeler in Bengaluru -
- Prefer Digital Electronic Meters
- Fix the rate if you are not sure of the route. Check online maps such as Google Maps OR btis.in for distance estimates.
- Notice when the meter starts ticking after 2km mark. If this is substantially earlier than expected then immediately get out and find another Auto.
- Electronic meters have a secret - When being flipped, they should briefly display "2-Stroke" OR "4-Stroke". If not they are likely to have been tampered. This tip was told by a rickshaw driver himself.
Since FM has recently increased fuel taxes, Auto community will be highly motivated to protect their income. Here are my few of my long pending wishes -
- Compulsory tamper-free Electronic meters
- Pre-paid NFC Smart cards for payment.
- More pre-paid auto stands
- CNG for all new Auto's
Why this post?
Earlier this week I boarded yet another turbo-charged analog meter Auto. The driver instantly agreed for 1.5x charge (at 4:45 AM). This raised my suspicion, but instead of going for a fixed charge, I accepted the deal. Around 1.5km mark he switched to a longer route which I didn't object. This was going to cost me ~0.5km extra distance so I kept silent.
To my horror, the meter starting ticking early. I realized this when it had clocked Rs. 19. We were roughly at the 2km mark (Rs. 14). This was a ~40% faster meter, taking me through 10% longer route and that too at 1.5x the cost. I immediately aborted the trip and got off.
This was an extreme case, but 10-20% excess charge is commonplace in Bengaluru.
If you have tips on hiring an Auto-rickshaw, post in comments.
Photo Credit - 1 - Wikipedia, 2 - Google Maps