To explore any city in India one must be aware of the various modes of commutation that are available at hand. In most cities in India you would find the local state transport buses and hired cabs or taxis. In addition to these, larger cities such as Mumbai, there is the option for “local trains” and Kolkata has the “trams” while Delhi has the “metro“.
However, the one mode of transport that is vital across most of India is the auto rickshaw. In fact, in cities and towns across the country, the black-yellow or the green-yellow rickshaws are the backbone of city transport. They are called “autos” by the locals. The seating capacity of a normal auto is 4, including the driver. There are also six-seater rickshaws in certain towns and cities. Normally their fare rates of these autos controlled by the government.
For a tourist, there are a few points to remember and bear in mind with regards to these widely used modes of conveyance. There are two kinds of auto rickshaws – pre-paid and post-paid. The pre-paid auto booths can usually be found outside railway stations, shopping complexes or popular destinations frequented by local and international tourists. In fact there are proposals of opening such booths in airports too along with pre-paid taxis.
The charges to destinations are fixed and you do not end up paying more due to faulty meters or shrewd drivers. However, the post-paid as opposed to pre-paid autos are more in number. They run on meters, so before boarding one you need to make sure it is down to zero. So if there are both pre-paid and post-paid autos available at a certain destination, the tip is always to go for the former.
Though more often than not, the rickshaw drivers are helpful, but there are always chances of some waiting just to take the tourists on a ride. So as always the golden rule is to appear confident and sure of oneself while hailing one.
In some cities, the auto rickshaws run on shared basis which has its own pros and cons. In case of shared auto rickshaws, the fares are cheaper though you would find these autos crammed full as opposed to the individually hailed ones.
Don’t be afraid to get one of these autos, they are great fun and is a lot cheaper than hiring a taxi. In Delhi, the charges are fixed by the operators of the auto-rickshaws of the Capital Territory of Delhi. The charges are supposed to be at Rupees 25/- for the first 2 kilometre and then Rupees 8/- for every kilometre thereafter. So make sure you ask the hotel reception about the distance of your desired destination.
If you can hire a pre-paid auto-rickshaw well and good if not then the golden rule is too check the metre is at zero, if not than get the fair fixed before taking the ride.
An auto rickshaw ride in Bangalore, India
Essential India Travel Guide
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