August 9, 2006 4:15 am

Auto rickshaw experience…

Filed under: Customer Service,Travel — ramsblog @ 4:15 am

Auto rickshaw experience…

I am from South of India and have traveled in auto many times. However, after a long time I visited a city in south west for the first time and stayed in a star hotel. At times I chose to walk around the streets once or twice a day and chose Auto Rickshaws few times. I knew it would happen, however, I noticed 3 or 4 AR’s waiting by the entrance of this hotel. I came out and 2 or 3 of them approached me enquiring if I needed a ride. I said sure and mentioned about a restaurant I needed to go. This restaurant is about 1.5kms from the hotel where I stayed. So, auto guy looked at me and then looked at his other drivers and finally said it would cost me 80Rupees to drop me off at the restaurant. I asked why and replied I shall pay by the meter – at least I think we may trust the meter as long as it wasn’t tampered. Although there was no response, why would they charge 80Rs in place of 10rs?

Anyways, I denied and went ahead to walk down to the restaurant. I found another auto on the way and it costed me the minimum charge (i.e. 10rs). I had breakfast and returned back by another Auto from the restaurant – again paid by the meter – to the hotel within about hour and a half. There I noticed the same drivers still chatting and playing cards and not having any customers.  Why do you think those folks ignore the customers and keep playing or gossiping (I didn’t mean to use this word and I am not supposed to.) I noticed the same set of people almost every day when I stepped out. They lost me as a customer – I wouldn’t go with them. Once one of them also asked me if I was going to the restaurant for breakfast – and he still didn’t agree to the meter.

On the other hand, I noticed the auto folks from any other place to drop me off at the hotel. Many times, soon after I said my destination (Hotel name), they said it would cost me anywhere between 50rs to 100rs – ini place of about 10 to 15rs by meter. Why is that so? Why do they expect people to pay more just because guests stay at the stars hotel or going to star hotel? How has your experience been with Auto drivers in Hyderabad /Bangalore /  Chennai area? What do you think I recommend others to do with auto by * hotels now?

I heard something worse from somebody related to this. There was a foreign national staying at a different hotel. He chose to take an auto to go to a nearby restaurant. I know it is about 3 to 4 kms. Auto driver charged him about 800rupees. This guest enquired with his friend after reaching the restaurant about going to a another place that he needed to and enquired about approximate auto fare. He got to know that it would cost him about 35 to 50rs given the distance. Then he asked if the distance he traveled to the restaurant was about the same or less or more. Obviously he got to know the real story now.

Why do auto folks take foreign nationals or other innocent others granted?  

Well I also had good experiences with some other drivers. I asked for the hotel where I stayed. I think. And that guy asked me to pay about 5rs more than it would cost since he had to return back all the way for his way home.  I was happy that he was not only genuine but he was also reasonable in his request. At the end at my destination, I myself paid a little more as tips. I liked that open-ness and promptness he showed.

note: this is just my observation and experience during my stay in that city, it doesn’t have to be the same for others – i had both good and not so good experience. I hope things do get better in future 


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