Delhi is a large city in terms of demographics and the number of people living in it. The government provided various transport systems exists but they are not very efficient. The public transport are usually very crowded and the service is irregular. Because of these limitations few options other than the standard taxis emerged long ago. Some of them are Cycle Rickshaw, Tempo and the most common one is called the Auto Rickshaw. This is a close cousin of Tuk Tuk from Thailand so many foreigners call these Auto Rickshaw as Tuk Tuk. As you can see from the picture below that it is basically a fuel powered three wheeler that can ferry people from one place to other.
All auto rickshaws in Delhi, as per law, are fitted by an electronic meter and as long as they are on the roads, they can’t deny you taking from one place to the other within the Delhi city boundary. Normally you just signal the auto rickshaw, enter the rickshaw and tell him to take you to your destination. He would turn on his meter and take you to your desired destination and collect money as per the meter. Simple isn’t it? However, it is not that simple and you tend to face more than a problems with the auto rickshaw drivers.
Problems with auto rickshaws and the drivers:
- Rickety Auto Rickshaws: Most of the auto rickshaws are rickety and worn out. The shock absorber are non functioning. Every little pothole that you get on the road (believe me there are many on Delhi roads), literally churn your stomach upside down. If you are a pregnant lady, then please avoid it at all time.
- Refusing to give you a ride: Almost all of the drivers will refuse to give you a ride if it does not fall in the direction where they want to go OR if your place is at a location from where they will not be able to get another passenger. This is very frustrating especially if you need to reach somewhere in time and the driver is refusing a ride.
- Overcharging and refusing to by meter: If the driver will agree to give you a ride, he will almost certainly want to charge you a lump sum amount. He will refuse to go by meter. The rate will increase especially if you are a foreigner.
Other problems of using auto rickshaws:
- Beggars, air pollution and the road noise is in your face. By the end of your journey your face will have a layer of dust and pollution. Also the noise will surely cause headaches. If this was not enough, since you are almost in the open, at red light signals you get harassed by pesky beggars.
- If you are a foreigner and take an auto rickshaw. The driver will most likely want to take you to shopping OR another hotel OR a tourist office in order to earn easy commission money. They are very pesky and cause great frustration.
How to handle auto rickshaw drivers:
- If the rickshaw is rickety, don’t use it. Better to wait for another one rather than suffer the agonizing jerks.
- If the auto rickshaw driver refuses to give you a ride, just note down the vehicle number. Then you tell him that you will call the traffic police by dialing 100. Most likely the driver might offer to give you a ride. In case he doesn’t then you can also register your complaint on the Delhi Traffic Police Facebook page OR Delhi Traffic Police Twitter page. Remember to give the Vehicle Number, Date, Time and the location of the incident. Police will sort the driver out for sure.
- Lastly if he overcharges you or refuses to go by meter, just follow the procedure given in point number 2. He will be sorted by the police.
Current Auto Rickshaw rates effective from 8-May-2013:
Regular Fare: INR25 for first fall of 2 Kilometer (upon downing the meter) and thereafter INR8 per Kilometer for every additional Kilometer
Night Charge: 25% of the fare (11:00 PM to 5:00 AM).
Waiting Charges: INR30 per hour or part thereof (Subject to a minimum of 15 minutes stay)
Luggage: INR7.50 shall be charged as extra luggage charges whereas the driver/ operator shall not charge and money for a shopping bag or a small suitcase
You can always get the latest rates from the Delhi Traffic Police Site.