Monday, December 28, 2009

The Adventure Continues: Taxis

When exploring a new city, you're often at the mercy of the locals. One local in particular tends to have more weight than others. This local is the taxi driver. During our group trip in the north, we had a car and driver which means we never used cabs. Since returning to Mumbai, we take taxis everywhere. It has been a learning experience with each ride and with just a couple days left I think we're getting the hang of it.

During my first couple of days, I was taught how to read a rickshaw meter. Taxis here have meters too, but there's a fare sheet that has some sort of government sponsored conversion to higher prices.

Lessons:
1. Fixed fares are always more expensive (and if they're set by the taxi, you're likely getting screwed)
2. 99% of the taxis when using a meter will convert to a higher price than you should be charged
3. Always ask to see the fare sheet if a fare sounds high
4. Most taxis whether or not they actually have it will claim they don't have change

It has been one adventure after another. Tonight we grabbed a taxi on our return from dinner. He wanted 250 rupees to which we replied no, metered or we'll grab another cab. He agreed. Surprisingly he took a rather direct route to our hotel. We asked how much when we arrived, he told us 180 rupees which was more than the 135 rupees we spent to get to dinner. Not to mention we walked a little towards the hotel afterwards. We asked for the fare sheet and he deceased the price to 134 rupees. I asked to see the sheet, the fare should be 107 rupees. Had it been after midnight, 134 rupees would have been correct. I hate to feel like I'm getting ripped off in my country or any other simply because I don't know the city. I've decided hotels should give a little tutorial on local transportation via taxi if they know you're a foreign traveler and will be using them often.

I realize in US terms this may seem petty. However, traveling abroad, I've also learned that you should think of currency in terms of the country you're in, not your home country. Otherwise everything you do is only $5 or only $20 and regardless, only, adds up quickly.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

2 comments:

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Ameya said...

I am loving to read about your Indian adventures! Not sure how much of Mumbai you'll get to see but there are quite a few places that yu'll really like...
Waiting to hear abt New Years!!! Happy 2O1O!