hiring a driver in Rajasthan (guide)
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Dec 19, 2012 10:12 PM Last Post By: tramps
Dec 18, 2012 4:51 AM
hiring a driver in Rajasthan (guide)as a budget traveller i was very overwhelmed when arriving in delhi and for some reason agreed to a driver as the whole train situation was very confusing. It was a unique experience and definitely had ome positives that you wouldnt experience from train and bus travel in a tight(ish) time schedule.
Something preparing me for the driver interactions and continual comission battles would have been a good help in making the choice of having a driver so hopefully this blog post will be helpful for other new arrivals in Delhi,
Dec 18, 2012 5:20 AM
Dec 18, 2012 5:50 AM
Dec 18, 2012 5:59 AM
Dec 18, 2012 6:18 AM
Dec 18, 2012 7:23 AM
Dec 18, 2012 7:31 AM
Dec 18, 2012 7:57 AM
Dec 18, 2012 8:50 AM
Dec 18, 2012 3:10 PM
9I read your account with increasing dismay - do you not think that £20 a day is too little for a car and driver and that you basically got what you paid for? Realistically you could not afford that level of service so you should not blame the driver, who was probably being paid nothing except whatever you tipped him, so was trying to earn a few rupees here and there. Would you rather he starved, just because you could not afford the going rate which is at least 50% more than what you were paying. Anyone with half a brain knows that if you pay peanuts you will get monkeys. Cars cost money in India, as does the fuel (which is about half UK costs so in real terms very dear), road tolls, state taxes, parking etc. Whilst labour is cheap, it is not free. What did you think was a fair rate for a driver per day? The car would be owned by a transport company - so they also need to make a profit - I really can't think that you put any thought into what you were doing at all. I work, unpaid, for a very good friend who is a driver with his own vehicle. I know how hard he works and exactly what he charges as a daily rate, and how much money he makes. I am always trying to encourage him to increase his rate as any decent tourist who is lucky enough to have the benefit of him working for them will have exactly the holiday you didn't have - no commission hotels, shops or restaurants, an entertaining well-educated guide (degree in history from Delhi University), a first class service and no hassle at all. I am sorry that you were less than impressed with your trip - but pleased that at least you have pointed out the pitfalls of choosing a cheap service thereby demonstrating that it is not always wise to go with the lowest quote. As an American I know pointed out - he was happy to bargain in hotels, shops etc - but don't mess with your driver who has your life in his hands!
Dec 19, 2012 2:08 AM
10#10 thanks for being a civil human being, sometimes on forums I wonder if they even exist :)
#9 Of course in hindsight I would have a better idea about pricing but when you first arrive in a country it can be very hard to know what is a fair cost, and I didn't have the internet to check up on anything. I had already been on the road 7 months and the value of things is clearly very different in every country. Before going to India i had booked some trains as I didn't really know about the whole driver thing (but the driver company of course told me that trains run at least 10 hours late and would ruin my trip....). So it would be impossible to know what a fair rate is when you don't know how the system works in regards to car (he said it was his car), price of petrol, mileage, general living wage in India. Of course I wouldn't want him to starve but seeing as he was always buying new clothes and his kid went to private school and he refused to eat street food because it was below him then i don't think starving was a realistic result.
I'm sure i would do things much differently if i did them again but we learn from our mistakes and despite the stress i still had a really good time there, I also had a driver in Sikkim (to get to the permit areas) and that was a really decent experience.
Dec 19, 2012 3:38 AM
Dec 19, 2012 4:21 AM
I was going to comment on #9 Samand's post but you have done it better than I.
In India you get to know the cost of smaller items and you learn what quality hotel room you can buy for $x. but on other things who knows...how much is that rug, sari or gemstone really worth? I wouldn't try to beat a roadside banana seller down to the last cost price paisa, but on car hire a tourist is not in India or any country for that matter to be the arbiter of minumum wage standards..that's the job of Indian citizens, government, competition and unions. The best one can do is research, and shop around. Avoid touts, or at least nail them down with your written requirements.
Dec 19, 2012 10:02 AM
- 12 you say £20 is too high and the other guy (#9) says its 50% less than what i should pay (and that i'm starving someone).
I have a good awareness of sensible and safe practice so I often just embrace things. If i get ripped off to a negligible amount its not really a big deal. It was a spontaneous trip to India as i had a 6 week gap in my schedule and the Air Asia flights were cheap and the main thing i looked into was how to dress so as to not cause offence, and as I also said i didnt expect to be hiring a driver but like many people gave in to persistent salesmen.
In no way did i suggest anyone should do things the same way as me its just a personal account of an experience which, if there are other like me who prefer to read a single article to get an idea of something rather than 10 people arguing a single point all from totally different backgrounds then its online for them to use or disregard at will.
Dec 19, 2012 10:12 PM
14This post together with the various responses raised a number of issues that travellers wanting to use taxis will be interested in.
How do things work and what is ‘fair’?
Of course when travellers first arrive in a hot, dusty, crowded Indian city and are overwhelmed by transport, people, pollution and unfamiliar with the way everything works, they often opt for the organised driver itinerary. Sometimes this is a reasonable option if you can afford it, but it isolates you and locks you into a passenger/driver relationship that may seriously impact on your experience (good or bad). India isn’t as frightening as it looks when you first arrive and things work reasonably well, so if you can overcome fear or have some travel experience there are much better ways to get around India.
If you do choose this option then there are things to understand - you may be using the services of a reputable/ disreputable travel agent and have a wonderful/awful driver to live with for a number of weeks. Choose carefully and be prepared to pay for the higher level of service and transport that you want. Make sure that you set the conditions and have control, bargain but don’t get too carried away, ensure that it is understood that you choose hotels, restaurants and the itinerary and you don’t want to be taken into shops and factories. Clarify who is paying for the driver’s accommodation and meals and understand the exact kind of car you will be travelling in. Get it all in writing. When these things are understood the situation with your driver will be clear and a fair price can be arrived at. I would imagine that car wear and tear, costs of petrol, the driver’s time, his language skills and knowledge and absence from his family are all costs. Twenty pounds a day wouldn’t cover these costs and the driver would have to be on the make with this kind of deal to make it worth his while. Remember that the driver and car is at your disposal for the entire time of your trip.
If you want the luxury of a car rather than book a car and driver for your entire trip i have found that a better option is to secure a taxi the night before each day of travel. This is usually cheaper, it frees you up from a long relationship with your driver and offers the flexibility to stay longer in some places, change your mind or join up with other travelers? Just go to the local taxi/bus station to where the taxi drivers gather and negotiate a price the night before and your taxi arrives at your hotel at the time of your choosing the next morning. One rule of thumb when approaching the drivers is not to be bamboozled by the ones who rush you. I usually look over the cars and drivers before making a decision then I approach my chosen driver rather than the other way around.
When negotiating the price you will need to know:
1. the distance in kilometers to be traveled as the fee will be a per kilometer price. This is usually doubled to pay the driver for his return trip (though not with share taxis on common routes) some taxi drivers have a very imaginative idea of the number of kilometers between destinations!
2. whether you are crossing state borders as this sometimes incurs extra costs.
3. the size of the taxi, small taxis = small prices
4. conditions you expect of the driver - route options, stops/waiting times, speed limits you prefer etc.
I am a bit out of touch with prices and they do vary from state to state and according to the car chosen but two years ago a small car was usually 4 to 6 rupees a kilometer and larger air conditions models were as much as 12 rupees a kilometer.
It’s usually much more expensive to ask your hotel to book a taxi for you but they do sometimes have reliable drivers and cars. I am not in the habit of throwing tips around but most drivers are hard working, polite underpaid workers so if they do provide a good service you should reward them accordingly.
Finally Trains are safer and more comfortable than cars so consider using trains for longer trips, you can book then on line, at a station or through an agent.
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