The Best Auto-Rickshaw Wallahs in the World


Anywhere else in India you think auto-rickshaw wallah and the first word that come to your head is crook. This is not the case in Mumbai.

Amateur Blogger explains why – as he compares auto-wallahs in Mumbai to the ones in Hyderabad.

One thing that struck me about Mumbai as different from any other Indian city I’ve visited was that autos very infrequently refuse to go to a particular destination, they charge you by the meter, the meters are all in order (no hanky-panky), and they will not round off the fare to the next multiple of 10. There is an exception to this, however, the Mumbai airport, where they will rip you apart. For the most part, though, it is almost a pleasure dealing with the auto-wallahs in that city.

Another thing is that it seems to be the only city which seems to value time. The fare shown by the meter is a function of time, in addition to being a function of the distance as it is everywhere else. And a major difference as well: a ride from Goregaon to the domestic airport in Santacruz, took me 1.5 hours and 110 rupees, while on the way back (at 4:30 AM in the morning) it took me 20 minutes and 60 rupees (didn’t even charge me night fare). Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think that happens in any other city.

5 Comments so far

  1. Jeyavel (unregistered) on February 26th, 2006 @ 9:11 am

    I think the hiring charges are a function of time and distance, the new digital meters are calibrated to include additional night charges so one needs to pay whats displayed!

    I suppose this would be the norm with the autos that have the new digital meter! thats the way in Bangalore, unless the driver tries to rip you off, there are autos with the old meters that charge more during night(citing old meters) but are smart enough to get it calibrated to the time function.

    Some even cross the line and tamper the meters for their profit

  2. Selma Mirza (unregistered) on February 26th, 2006 @ 4:36 pm

    You’re right, Mumbai’s rickshawallah’s are easily some of the most helpful people in Mumbai…

  3. Tushar Chaudhary (unregistered) on February 26th, 2006 @ 9:12 pm

    [Akshay] Thanks for linking to my post.
    [Jeyavel] Just got back from Bangalore an hour ago, and although I didn’t get a chance to travel in Bengalooru autos (thanks to my employer), did hear nice things about them from my friends who live there.
    The point I was trying to make was that even though the auto guy was eligible for night charge, he didn’t charge me. I still don’t know why, but I’m sure his meter (analog) was not time calibrated.

  4. Akshay (unregistered) on February 27th, 2006 @ 11:34 am

    Jeyavel – I haven’t been to Bangalore of late so I too cannot comment on the state of Bengalooru autos. What I’ve found though is that in many Indian cities, the like of Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune etc auto-wallahs are somewhat notorious in charging more than the prescribed tarrif card. In Bombay as Tushar pointed out this is not the case. Bombay I would like to point out doesn’t allow autos on the main island and therefore autos are restricted to the Suburbs.

    Selma – Agreed.

    Tushar – Great post, I saw it on del.ici.ous and decided I had to link it here.

  5. KDS (unregistered) on February 27th, 2006 @ 3:34 pm

    Yea you’re right. I came to Mumbai for a short while from Delhi. I was genuinely surprised as to how co-operative and mostly honest the rickshawwallahs were. True, most are friendsly in Delhi as well… But they can definitely get a bit rough.. and evenmore definitely, greedy… I guess to each(city) its own…

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