self drive car in Kerala and Tamil Nadu
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Feb 3, 2013 1:09 PM Last Post By: jazoo
Jan 31, 2013 9:42 AM
Jan 31, 2013 10:19 AM
1Car rental is not an established practice in India and there are many reasons why it should be avoided, even if it were possible.
eg What happens in an emergency, breakdown, police relations etc. how will you organise insurance can you trust the rental company..
Certainly if you are looking to use car-rental on vacation, then quite honestly forget it and negotiate a daily rate with a taxi driver. If the driver is unacceptable then you've only made the mistake for one day.
But do not commit yourself in advance of arrival in-country, at best you will get overcharged, at worst defrauded.
Do it all after you arrive and ask around.
Jan 31, 2013 9:31 PM
2i agree with the previous post.
but the last point is were i disagree. you can inquire the charges in mail with many drivers / agencies and choose your best. and deny paying anything more than what you are quoted provided the itiernary is not changed. you can very well post the quote here and confirm it.
you have many localites here to help you and confirm.
Feb 1, 2013 3:40 AM
3#2 a fine answer for national hirer but the foreigner cannot check out the integrity of the suppliers - wait until you get there , ask around and see the vehicles and agency first, then you can start to negotiate but beware of all the pitfalls, eg petrol, mileage limit, drivers subsistance etc.
I never take a car+driver except on a daily basis, maybe a coupladays, there is a significant risk of being conned if you do it for longer, also you might not like the guy, particularly if he stops and defecates behind a tree just 2 metres away - happened to us last year near Ajanta.
Feb 2, 2013 7:08 AM
4I have hired vehicles all over India for many years and can recommend this way of travelling within the Sub Continent where maybe trains and buses are not available or practicable for a specific trip. What I have learnt is how important it is to lay firm ground rules prior to departure. And while it may be more convenient to allow your hotel to arrange a car, quite often the best drivers (and vehicles) can be found in designated parking areas outside major bus and train stations, where you may also find a board indicating current standard fares between nearby cities.
My tips for hiring a driver in India are as follows:
1. Determine the cost per kilometer or fixed Point A to Point B cost prior to departure.
2. Determine whether fuel and oil is included in the tariff or is extra. Usually it is all inclusive in the up-front cost.
3. Determine who pays for road tolls and cross-state taxes. Usually this is extra to the up-front cost as routes may differ from day to day.
4. Punctures are common on poorly maintained Indian roads. Ensure you will not be held responsible for any such repairs on route.
5. Determine if the driver expects accommodation and meals on route. Many hotels will not accommodate drivers but are happy to let them sleep in their cars in the hotel car park. Most drivers are happy with this arrangement.
6. Check the drivers licence, insurance and registration papers. He would usually keep copies of these in the vehicle as Indian police frequently target taxi/tourist vehicles for fines (kickbacks). Particularly if the vehicle is out-of-state.
7. It is not unknown for a driver to claim his Air Conditioner has broken down after the first couple of days (to save on fuel). Should the air conditioning be rendered unserviceable on route (when it is really needed), predetermine an acceptable discount (per kilometer) for the remainder of the trip.
8. Make it clear if you intend to make frequent chai/photo/toilet stops, and don’t be bullied into rushing from place to place. It is also customary for passengers to pay for incidental chai and snacks for the driver.
9. Also make it clear that there will be no ‘detours’ to transport friends or relatives. Nor will there be driver initiated visits to showrooms, factories or other shopping outlets.
10. Ensure you are the only passenger(s) for the agreed trip. A driver will sometimes try to ‘double up’ his passengers at the last minute to subsequently double his profits.
11. Get all (or most) of the above in writing. This may sound a little officious and over the top, but Indian people are accepting of bureaucracy and will not be offended if you insist on a written ‘contract’. You don’t want to get one day into your journey only to have a falling out over some aspect of the trip knowing you will be stuck with this guy for the duration. Spelling out the ground rules from the very start will go a long way to make a pleasant and hassle free journey for both yourself and your driver.
There is no need to book in advance. One other thing to note, the car organised by your hotel may be a reputable and experienced driver or it may just be the managers cousin or brother in law looking for some spare cash. It’s your call.
Feb 3, 2013 1:09 PM
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