Are cabs in Delhi safe for tourists?

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"Autorickshaws"
Auto-rickshaws at Connaught Place, New Delhi. Source: Prolix6x’s photostream

Delhi is a big city. It’s home to more than 18 million people. More than 5.18 million foreign tourists came to India in 2010. (Annual Report 2012-11, Ministry of Tourism) A large proportion of those tourists first land in the capital and from there set off to explore this vast land. According to another report titled ‘Tourism survey in the State of Delhi,’ about 1.8 million foreign tourists and more than 21 million domestic tourists come to see the splendid capital each year. A large number of those tourists hire taxis or cabs to move around the city. Unfortunately, a small proportion of them become victims to impostors pretending as taxi drivers. This makes tourists uneasy and quite soon all taxis are regarded as driven by crooks. While it’s understandable why this happens, it’s not wise to put them all in the same category.

In this article, we will have a balanced look at the current situation and you will also read how you can stay safe while still enjoying your visit to this wonderful city in a taxi.

"cabs in delhi"
Cabs in Delhi. Source: Prolix6x’s photostream

Contemporary situation

Like any other big city Delhi has its proportion of charlatans who make a living by swindling gullible tourists. Foreigners, particularly from the First World countries, are especially vulnerable. Quite often they can’t speak the local language and carry more money than tourists from others parts of the same country. This makes them more lucrative among cheats. Women are more prone to be victims than men. Fortunately crimes against tourists (foreigners and domestic) aren’t out of control and ‘India 2012 OSAC Crime and Safety Report: New Delhi’ still classifies the country, and thus New Delhi, as “generally safe for foreign visitors.”

How tourists can remain safe?

Even if we assume there is an only one in thousand taxi driver who is only waiting for you to sit in his taxi so that he can take advantage of you, it’s still not worth taking a chance. To ensure your taxi is not one among the black sheep, you can hire a Radio Taxi. These are special cabs equipped with GPRS and other state-of-the-art technology, which makes it a safer alternative. These taxis have digital meters so you don’t have to hassle over fare. And above all you can get one of these cabs any time by simply making a phone call. The official website of Delhi Tourism lists these Radio Taxi operators:

Delhi Cab: 91-11-44333222, Easy Cab: 91-11-43434343, Mega cab: 91-11-41414141

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Meru Cabs: 91-11-44224422 and Quick Cabs: 91-11-45333333

In case you can’t find a Radio Taxi, prefer to travel in groups and avoid taking a taxi between 22:00-06:00

If possible, always keep a pepper spray with you.

What to do in case of an emergency?

In case there is an emergency, immediately phone your embassy or dial 100. In case you have a pepper spray, don’t hesitate to use it.

Conclusion: Are cabs in Delhi safe for tourists?

While taxis, autos and cabs in Delhi are generally safe, there are certainly a few black sheep. And you have to guard yourself against those few in the backdrop of generally good or professional drivers. You can do this by preferring Radio Taxis over general ones, keeping an emergency number at your side and, if possible, always keeping an eye on the driver.

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49 thoughts on “Are cabs in Delhi safe for tourists?

  1. I really love the city of Delhi and Mumbai, they’re really a big city like Karachi of Pakistan.

    I heard that the most beautiful city of India is GOA, so I would love to see an article about city of GOA on your site Shalu.
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  2. If you are going to hire a cab or taxi, it is safer that you ask for one through the telephone or book one even before you make your flight. I believe there are a lot of lucrative taxi agencies in India as there are in most parts of the world, that accepts scheduled rides.

  3. Hi Shalu,
    I see you are doing a very comprehensive and complete guide of Delhi, very nice! What can I say, these cabs look more than safe to me. I mean, I have been in a tuk-tuk in Thailand and those weren’t very safe but they are fun to ride in.

    • u also check my travels in new delhi i have no complaint for my side u need any type of cabs so call :- +919810811912 Surinder Singh

    • you are again come back so please call me +919810811912 my travels Lakhvir Travels in new delhi and reliable prices and satisfy the clients because client is my guest……

  4. Hi Michael, Delhi refers to both Old and New Delhi. New Delhi was build around Old Delhi and today it encompasses government building, parliament, embassies etc.
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  5. Thanks Shalu….
    Another value added article from you….
    Tourism is big source of revenue for government and its their moral responsibility to provide security to our foreign tourists.
    You have shared really good information with data and thanks for sharing emergency contact details.
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  6. Delhi is old delhi like Chandni Chowk etc. and new delhi is New Generation guys delhi like South Extn., G.K. M block Market etc. i am transporter u come back delhi and u need any type of cabs so plz call me +919810811912

  7. Nice Post!!! Yes Delhi city cab drivers are still on their infamous fleecing spree, cheating both resides and tourists alike…In Delhi Cabs if you are feeling unsafe then our taxis have panic buttons on the rear seat and he or she can press it for immediate action.
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  8. Cheating tourist is a big problem in India but this is not good for tourism in India. One side where tourist government in India try to make ‘Incredible India’ by saying that “Atithi Devo Bhav”, the other side most of private taxi drivers are cheating on tourists who came to India. In between all this right and wrong people their are so many taxi service provider who still work for their nation and for whom guests are god(Atithi Devo Bhav). India4wheeltours is New Delhi based best budget car rental provider, registered by government of India. Engaged in travel and tourism from last 10 years.

  9. Thanks for sharing this information it helps a people lot. Cheating is really very big problem in India. If any one wants to visit in historical and wonder city then must visit Delhi. The Delhi is capital of India and this city is known for it historical places and Delhi has lots of market to visit and it is the most happening city of the country India. Travelling through cab is a good option here to travel……….Thanks once again.:)

  10. Interesting yet informative article Ms. Shalu Sharma 🙂
    Yes, Delhi & NCR get lot of tourists from abroad and here as well. Though the guidelines provided by you here are really very informative & to the point but cabs are a safer way to travel now a days. But one needs to take care whether he/she is in India or South Africa that doesn’t matter a lot, crime happens everywhere so it’s one’s own duty to take care.
    Best way to assure safety while travelling via cabs is to get some “escape-item” like sprays & learn the simple number 100. Never hail a taxi or a cab that’s standing nearby a road especially for foreigners, do call a reliable cab company & you can find one from your mobile easily!!

  11. Hi
    Unfortunately where ever you are in the world tourists will look like easy prey to a small minority of people who have no scruples. We just have to make sure this doesn’t effect the tourists from going abroard and spending there money to help the economy. This isn’t a India issue but a world issue that unfortunately someone is always going to exploit.

    Great post thanks lee

  12. Yes I am looking for the budget car rental services for my journey which is been planned after a long time. Need Delhi airport taxi rental for four days of my traveling in and around Delhi city.

  13. Thanks for sharing information. After such unforgettable incidents its to difficult to believe anyone. Its nice to know that in Delhi atleast such type of security still exists.

  14. what can one say about safety in delhi, real to survive in the part of the world, you just have to understand the culture, and little background reading on the people, history and economics, and little of basic hindi will help you a long way…

  15. cabs in delhi are safe if you carefully choose the best providers.

    meru cabs has been serving delhi since long and has proven track record.

    it is always good to opt services from providers which are in industry since long was able to make good position among commuters.

    i would also suggest people not to opt cheap cab service provider or random cab providers.

    thanks for wonderful share.

    • I dont think that strick law can reduce this type of incident, what i believe that we need to take some self defence training to protect ourself in such situation.

      Also we need to avoid travelling alone during night time specially after 11pm. We can also use shared cabs and travel with friends or known people.

  16. Great and useful information for the somebody who is going to travel to Delhi. Personally, I like Indian cab taxi service, that are awesome by their pricing and services.

  17. i agree with what is is been said . taxis are still most easy way to travel all around the world there are some tourism that experience some problems but its not always the case . there lot of nice contat how are ready to help and give a very good image about this service thank you

  18. Its true that not all taxi drivers are thugs, but still being vigilant causes no harm, i like your piece of advice shalu and totally agree with the idea of radio taxi they are much more safer, however i would like to add one more thing if a customer by chance has to travel from local taxi please make sure to note down the taxi number and message or share the same number with your friend or family it makes things much easier.

  19. I do opine that this possible to see this page would find the really good.
    Elite Cars Guildford specialises in airport transfers. We can also provide chauffeur driven cars Surrey,

  20. Hi, Shalu

    Today, crime rate is increasing day by day all over the globe. It is not just about travelling through a cab, specifically in India. If you are travelling anywhere, carrying safety gears with you has become a big need.

    YES, keeping pepper sprays can be a big help, apart from them, we can keep flashlight stunguns, stunguns, teasers, etc.

    Thank you for sharing this post with us and the safety measures that you have mentioned.
    Good Post!!
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