Avoiding the annoying taxi scams in India
Replies: 23 - Last Post: Jun 8, 2012 11:29 PM Last Post By: davey82
May 18, 2012 4:09 AM
Avoiding the annoying taxi scams in IndiaHi There,
Is there any way of avoiding being overcharged by scam taxis In India. I've heard that pre paid is the way to go, but even these drivers try their luck by fiddling with the meter to run faster, or they pretend not to know where your hotel is, says it doesn't exist, and starts unecessary panic or arguments.
How will I know if I'm being overcharged not having a clue about the normal rates if not taking a pre paid taxis?
How can one actually get safely to your destination without all this hassle, especially a young female like me travelling alone.
Maybe airport transfers are the only safe way to go??
Any experiences and advice out there please?
May 18, 2012 4:50 AM
1Well, first, I'd suggest that you stop stressing.
I really don't care if a taxi driver has the first clue where he's supposed to go if I've already paid for the taxi to THERE in the first place.
It would not be good judgement to take anything other than a prepaid once you step off the plane.
And once you're at that first hotel/guesthouse, you ask SOMEONE YOU TRUST THERE, how much it's supposed to cost to get to wherever you're going.
May 18, 2012 5:00 AM
2There's a very simple way to avoid taxi (and rickshaw - rickshaws are much more common in India than taxis) scams in India - don't take taxis or rickshaws. India's public transport varies enormously, and it is much more efficient and easy to use in some cities than in others, but it is possible to get to the vast majority of destinations in India without using taxis or rickshaws.
You should be okay with pre-paid taxis: in this case, you never give money to the driver, but rather pay at a pre-paid booth who gives you a kind of receipt/ticket. This receipt is what the driver needs to get paid for your trip, so don't hand it over to him until he's taken you to the destination you've paid for. This is a simple way to avoid problems. And whatever the driver might say, never give him any additional money on top of the slip (it's quite common for pre-paid drivers to try and demand compulsory tips from first time arrivers in India).
May 18, 2012 5:00 AM
May 18, 2012 5:18 AM
May 18, 2012 6:11 AM
5and hold onto my ticket
You will have TWO copies of the receipt. Your driver will not get paid unless he returns one copy - that you will give him when he reaches your destination.
It would be a foolish, foolish taxi driver that would mess up a sweet gig like working for the pre-paids just to mess with one foreigner. He might tell you that his brother/cousin/grandfather has a guesthouse, but so what, he's taking you to your destination, that's the end of story.
May 18, 2012 6:15 AM
6I took a prepaid yesterday to the airport from my hotel; I figured out why the driver brought his friend when it turned out that neither one had ever driven anyone to the airport. It was sort of entertaining - obviously I don't speak Hindi but there was enough English in their conversation that it was easy to figure out what was going on. I did a bunch of pointing and we got there. I didn't blame them, there's a first time for every trip, plus of course I'd paid already so that wasn't an issue.
In the 3+ months I've spent over there I only ever really had one "bad" experience, and that was a couple of days ago after taking the train from Agra to Delhi. Three auto rickshaw guys were being very pushy, and their first price (450!) was more than the AC taxi which had taken me from the same hotel to the station a couple of days earlier. They were extremely aggressive. I started walking away and told them to leave me alone for a few minutes or there was no chance I would go with them. I looked around until I found an Easy Cab booth, and the three of them actually tried to bar me from talking to the cab folks. At that point they were down to 300 (I wasn't haggling with them, just trying to get away from them). I finally told them to piss off and I was going to talk to the cab company and they better get out of my way; the cab wanted 230. Sold.
Generally speaking I think the best thing is to ask your hotel and other travellers what's reasonable to pay, whether auto or cycle rickshaw or taxi. Apart from the one incident above I never had anyone ask for more than the going rate. I had a cycle rickshaw guy drive me around Agra for the 24 hours I was there and I did pay him more (my choice, he didn't ask for it), because it was a million degrees and no one could have paid me enough to do what he was doing, so I was quite happy to slip him some extra money. Also because he was very low-key, didn't try to get me to do anything I didn't want to do, his english was quite good and he was very informative, etc. Then an Englishwoman I'd gotten to know in Udaipur appeared at my hotel and I introduced them, so I think she used him for the days she was there as well, and I felt good about that. (I don't know if this is allowed here but his name is Salim, he's been doing it 11 years, he hangs out near the barrier to the quiet street by the Taj gate, and he's a good guy).
And, as someone mentioned, public transport is a great way to go and ultra-cheap. I love the Metro in Delhi, especially the female-only cars. Anyway, don't worry too much, it'll all become clear pretty quickly. cheerio
Edited by: nosarayogi
May 18, 2012 9:17 AM
7The most consistant taxi/tuktuk scam is arriving late evening after 21.00 at New Delhi station - the cab drivers know exactly that you are at their mercy - they will only take you to their mate's hotel at a reasonable rate -I have found no way round it except walking out of that compound but my tired companion would not normally agree.
May 18, 2012 9:20 AM
8When I first came to India on business, thus not really caring what short taxi rides cost (within reason) I thought I'd just tell them to take me places and see what happened when I asked what it would cost at the end. Actually you don't even get ripped off that much.
It may even help because they think you know what the cost should be, even so I probably wouldnt do it with my own money.
Taxis should have a meter,check they switch it on. As the others said Meru cabs and the like are pretty much forced to be honest, but they can be hard to get at short notice.
If you really dont know what the fare should be then there is no way to avoid overpaying, confirm a price in advance, see if you can haggle it down. You'll always pay a bit more as a tourist, but it usually is only a bit, don't let it ruin your trip.
If you're going to be in a place for a while and you find a good driver make sure you get his card so you can use him again.
As a backpacker I found a good strategy for avoiding touts when arriving somewhere new and touristy: the tout mafia will always crowd round entrance / exit searching for marques. Have nothing whatsoever to do with them even if you agree to their inflated fares they are still going to take you on a circuitous route of shops and other hotels.
If you walk through them you will invariably find all the regular auto guys and taxis lined up waiting patiently for regular fares.
Make sure you have your destination clearly written down and pick one of the guys. You will pay a much more normal fare, probably make his day, and get to see the satisfying looks of dismay on all the touts faces as you drive off.
Edited by: ruggedtoast
May 18, 2012 11:38 AM
9Another tip, which I guess probably only works for smokers: when you get out of the station, light up, say no you don't need anything, take a few relaxed moments to look around and calm down and size the place up, and then start in on the negotiations. (this may also work better if you are a woman, lone female smokers seem to freak them out a bit). :-)
May 18, 2012 4:03 PM
May 18, 2012 6:05 PM
May 18, 2012 11:47 PM
12My biggest taxi problems were the prepaid taxi from Delhi airport and a meter taxi in Mumbai.
The prepaid Delhi taxi tried to do the fake travel agency change hotel scam. He started to get very aggressive on the verge of violence when I didn't fall for it. I basically had to run away and find a tuk tuk which was pretty scary at 1am in a pitch black street when I had never been to India before.
My other problem was a meter taxi in Mumbai who had a dodgy fast meter that read 900 rupees on a trip from Bandra to Fort which should have been around 250.
May 19, 2012 1:54 PM
13i took a prepaid taxi from new delhi airport, the problem was, the guy did not find my hotel (ginger -railway station) so we had to call the hotel from my mobile (i only had the numberand not the adress) to get directions, but otherwise the taxidriver did not try to rip me off or convince me to another hotel....he was more embarrassed that he did not find it.
after that you can ask at your hotel how much for a trip from a to b. and if you pay a little more always remember that these people also have to feed families...
May 19, 2012 11:55 PM
14I try to maintain a balance between what is supposed to be the going rate while still considering hthe position these drivers are in. It must be difficult for them to make a living at the official rates as it is so little money. On the other hand you have to consider that those who are honest have to work a lot harder for a lot less so that is unfair too.
What I try to do is give an extra tip to those who are honest as I know the base rate is really quite inadequate for them.
Kochi (Cochin)Book now
(0 star Hotel)
From US$4.89 per night
Bengaluru (Bangalore)Book now
(0 star Hotel)
From US$31.21 per night
Bengaluru (Bangalore)Book now
(3 star Hotel)
From US$55.53 per night