Ten on Tuesday – 27

cooltext468162920Ten Things about my Recent ‘Encounter’ with  Auto-wallahs in Jaipur

  1. Recently, TOI conducted a series of workshops in our city and Photography was one among them. I immediately grabbed the opportunity to learn the tips and tricks of photography. The learnings and the experience of this workshop deserves a separate post, but this one is about the auto drivers, whose services I used to go back and forth the workshop venue.
  2. Some 50 meters away from our apartment complex, at the end of the road, there is this auto stand where 7-10 autos are parked at all hours of the day. During the day time, you will find them sitting in one auto and chatting away to glory. During the evenings you would see them huddled together around a small fire.autorickshaw-4-stroke
  3. You ask them, “Bhaiya, Tonk Road chaloge?” (Will you go to Tonk Road?) and the Act 1 of the drama begins. Half of them would turn away on hearing the destination, as if you are asking them to drop you on the moon. And this reaction is when your destination is in the centre of the city, which is a place buzzing with people and activities from morning to night and you are asking them to take you there at 10 am and not 10 pm!! The remaining 3-4 would push each other to take the “savari”. Listening to them say , “Tu iss savari ko leja” (You take this passenger) fills you with disgust.
  4. Reluctantly, somebody would agree and then Act 2 of the drama begins. You ask, “Kitna loge” (How much will you take?) And he says an amount which is twice the regular fare. You argue that you go daily to that place (even if it is the 2nd day of commuting to that place) and the fare is Rs 80. They turn back and go back to their conference room aka auto and continue with their agenda of the ‘meeting’. You leave the place and start walking on the main road and a few minutes later, an auto stops, you discuss your destination and the fare and surprisingly, these auto drivers always ask for a Rs 10 or 20 more than the ‘actual’ fare and agree to your ‘Rs 80’ immediately.
  5. Why you have to haggle about the fare is because these autos never go by meter, though they would start it as soon as you sit inside one. Their point is that the meter rate card is an old one and the price of diesel has increased. I wonder, if some action can be taken against them for not going by the meter!
  6. How does one arrive on the agreeable fare when the autos never go by meter and you are travelling by an auto after years! On the first day, you ‘interact’ ie do a market survey with 5-6 autos drivers and ask them the fare for your destination and then refuse all of them, one by one. After this interaction, you take the average of all the fares and arrive at an amount which could be the ‘right’ amount. You stop the next passing by auto and tell him what you will pay and voila! he agrees on the fare!
  7. The auto drivers in Jaipur city have to wear a blue shirt. Most of them never wear it before the start of the journey. Somewhere down the road they realise that the traffic cop would be visible, so they wear it over the clothes they are wearing and in turn either slowing down the vehicle or manoeuvring the vehicle precariously with one hand and using the other one to wear the blue shirt.
  8. Some of them drive at a break-neck speed, irrespective of the road. The traffic, the potholes, the speed-breakers just don’t mean anything to them. On a busy road, they will manoeuvre the auto so dangerously and sharply that you keep swaying to and fro on the seat. The jump over the potholes and speed-breakers ensure that all the contents of your stomach churn on their own. I wish there was some way of telling the muscularis externa in the stomach to take some rest and not to churn the food as the auto driver is helping to do just the same!
  9. Kumar Sanu would be proud of himself and would smile smugly to know that ALL the auto drivers (who have music systems in their autos) love him dearly!  After ages I heard so many popular songs of Kumar Sanu with jhankar beats.
  10. Since these autos never go by the meter and the fare that you agree upon is a round figure and that too in denomination of 10, still these guys never have change. The fare is Rs 80, you give Rs 100, and Act 3 of the drama begins… they put their hand in that pocket which has no money and with a sorry face, they say, “Sorry madam, change nahin hai”. Now, where you stop is a corner of a traffic junction, and the only shop that you see is a pan shop which is also a few meters away. You try to get the change from the paanwala and he refuses without even looking from whatever he is doing. Mind you, it is your responsibility to get the change, not the Auto driver’s! And since you can’t be asking for the change from any passer-by (who will definitely refuse too), you part with your 100 rupee note without getting the change! A six day workshop and traveling exactly a dozen times in the auto, my travelling expenses were more than the workshop fee!

How has been your experience with the Auto-wallahs in your city??

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49 thoughts on “Ten on Tuesday – 27

    • I was just reading Swaram’s blog post on this species (link above in her comment) and I was amazed at the language used by the drivers in Hyderabad! Terrible and shocking!! 😐

  1. I experience the same thing everyday, I have to go the gym which is just takes 5 mins to reach by an auto or car. There is Mall opposite the gym where about 20 autos are parked, and they will come eagerly to take provided you are willing to pay Rs.60 – Rs.80, when all it shows if the meter is on is only Rs.20. Same drama, they would ask someone else to take the savari. SO I never go to the Malll for the auto. I keep waiting near my gym and if some empty auto comes and is willing to take me home for Rs.40, I hop into it.
    I can’t understand why they like idling away their time, instead of doing their job. Whereas, when an Auto comes from somewhere else he would switch on the meter and it would show exactly Rs. 20, and he would take it without grumbling. I strongly feel they should have a paid auto system with the police seeing that passengers are not fleeced.
    It is funny majority of the places Auto drivers behave like this only, even in Madras it is the same story.

    • Oh my! Paying Rs 60-80 for a fare of Rs 20 is way too much!! I like Mumbai, atleast they go by Meter, of course they also do some nataks, but mostly they are good.
      Yes, this is beyond me too… don’t understand, why they waste time… now look at the guys at the auto stand near our home… they just keep sitting there and I have never taken auto from there coz they demand such exorbitant fares!

  2. Its a Pan-Indian phenomenon I guess.Back home in Bangalore, there are special telephone numbers to which you can call and lodge a complaint if auto-drivers refuse to go by meter but sadly hardy any action is taken even after reporting errant drivers…even if they do go by meter rates, its almost always tampered to get them a sizable profit… However there are a few decent blokes who do their job in all sincerity, I have had a taste of both kinds…

  3. You can now officially file a complain or send a message to Traffic police if an auto driver refuses to take you by meter or worse refuse to drive to your destination.. And I think it is high time we should act against them !!

    • This must be the system/policy in Delhi, but not here! Will check it out next time. Yeah, they are a menace and their outrageous demands and behavior should be certainly curbed!

  4. Horrible!! Auto Wallah’s usually are

    – Liars
    – Stubborn
    – Badtameez
    – Rude
    etc etc…

    These idiots are not supposed to refuse a passenger and when they do I usually fight with them, i mean it is our right na?

    They as a community misuse the power they have over the customer and they milk us!! And even then there is no guarantee that they have not cheated you by taking the longer route. When I was in Ahmedabad I had started carrying the meter card so that they could not cheat me on that front. But then when there is no meter being followed what can one do!

    • You are bang on, Smita! On one occasion, the guy started the meter as soon as we started, on reaching the destination, I paid him the agreed money and then asked him to show me the card. I wanted to check the actual fare! He refused point blank and said, I dont have one. Though as a rule they are supposed to carry one. Then I checked with somebody and found a way to calculate from the meter reading. Its Rs 13+meter reading x 8.
      But it is sickening to deal with these guys!

  5. Your post is an eye opener.I always thought only Chennai is bad with Autos. Auto Fares in Chennai are purely on Bargain, no meters at all. There is no explanation to why no meters, its been going on since years. We need to keep 5-7 extra mins in hand, only for bargain.
    Moreover, Metro Rail Constructions going on all over the City – some major routes have been turned to ONE WAY TRAFFIC. This aids Autowalas to charge more, as they have to change the route and opt for longer one.

    • You must read Swaram’s post, link mentioned in her comment above and you’ll be shocked! The auto drivers have become synonymous with the fleecing community! No ethics, no decency! 😐

  6. I find my place particularly terrible with Autos (Chennai). We have no idea about what could be the right charge because we have never seen an auto-guy going by the meter. This has been going on for the last 10-15 years.

    But, we also retaliate by not using auto as much as possible. We use bike, bus, share auto, taxi, etc, etc, but an auto is used only during an emergency. I think I take an auto like once in a year, etc. The result is, they queue up in prominent places (like CMBT) fighting amongst each other trying to catch some customer as if they are catching a fish. They do catch some fish, but it is much lesser than what it could have been, if they switch-on their meters. Suits them.

    Destination Infinity

    • God! So, it is like the autowallahs are the kings, demanding whatever they feel is right!! The opportunity to use an auto came after a long time for me too, usually either the driver or the husband have the honour of taking us around. 😀

  7. Till some 7 years back hyderabad autowallahs were fine and i always praised them in comparison to bangalore and madras autowallahs. In the last 7 years, due to IT explosion or whatever, they behave just the way you have mentioned minus the kumar sanu point. Sometimes, i wonder if i would reach home at all, they cruise, manoeuvre from all sides except fly. Especially, i stay in a place where most of them own 2-3 cars per home. so they act pricey when my apartment name is mentioned and say they will not get savari on return. They always escalate the prices by double. To many neaby places, i walk down. IT serves as an exercise for me. For faraway places, ditto your experience.

    • Gosh! This kind of driving which is a step below flying, I wonder, doesnt that damage their autos? I mean, they jump over the potholes/speed breakers and come back on the road with a thud, I am sure some wear and tear must be happening. Are they not concerned about their autos? Or that might be the owner’s problem!
      And this not getting savari on return is another irritating thing which they put us through! 😐

  8. oh yea..trust these guys to act pricey…i guess its the same everywhere in the country…add to that their hopeless driving skills, and ability to pick up a fight with anyone who dares to even scrape by their precious autos and there u have an absolute recipe for high blood pressure!

  9. ha ha ha! Talk about autos Shilpa…Chennai autos never run metres even for namesake! And if they come to know that you are new in the city they will definitely take you for a ride! 😀

  10. It really disgusting to deal with this “tribe”.It is same the approach and same attitude from Kashmir to Kanya Kumari. They have no fear of the Law. Passengers are helpless. Now even Taxi drivers have started this bargaining techniques.

  11. It’s the same situation in Chennai. My mom says never to take an auto from the stand coz they always demand more money! The distance of which would cost only Rs.40, they would ask for Rs.80 without any thoughts. And when we say that the autowala is charging more, the reaction they give and shout at us is as though we’ve spoilt their ek carode ka business deal! Beyond all this, there’s still these poor autowalas, who don’t demand but request more! I would rather pay the money to them!

  12. just change the name of the city from Jpr to Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore…the situation is the same. In places like Noida, Gurgaon its even worse. Auto fares are usually 1.5 times what they would have been by meter. Ggn mein the min an autowallah will charge you is 50, usse kam mein to aap sochiye hi mat auto ki taraf dekhne ki bhi. They are a torture. In Bangalore, i have waited outside my office for like 45 min just waiting for an auto…just to cover a distance of 3 kms….they plainly refuse!!!…

    • Oh yeah! The other day, a friend was sharing, she had to about half a km away, so she suggested 10 Rs to the auto guy! He laughed at her and said we take Rs 30 minimum for just sitting in the auto! He was asking Rs 50 for 1/2 km!!
      45 min of waiting for 3 km distance… OMG!!!

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