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.
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
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.