Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Adventures on an auto - I am a meter plus twenty

I got in an auto and the driver - henceforth autowala - asked me "How much will you pay?" "Meter plus twenty" I confidently replied. He said it sounded good to him and off we went.

Auto fares - like most cab fares - are supposed to be determined by a meter hooked up inside the auto. However, it is hard to find autowalas that go by the meter alone.  The price ultimately depends a lot on what you look like and how you talk. How meaning how foreign or gullible.

I know my price - meter plus twenty. Sharon- blonde and very white - is meter plus fifty on a good day and meter into two on any other given day. My purebred Bangalore friends would balk at paying anything but what the meter reads till 11pm ( after which your looks don't matter anymore. Everyone looks the same - needy)

Outside a mall in Whitefield there is an auto stand - a place where you will find a group of autorikshaws at almost any time of the day. Whitefield is also home to quite a few expat communities which in turn means home to a lot of foreigners. Thus this particular autostand is home to some rather ridiculous fare quotes and bargaining. The fare to our community is Rs 17 and it is fun to see what you are going to be quoted.

I have had Rs 100 thrown at me a couple of times and barring a day where I had Ashvin sleeping in my arms I have bargained it down to Rs 30. Peeyush on the other hand does look more Indian than I do so I was rather surprised when he was quoted Rs 100. Shorts and slippers - the recently american returned look - did it we inferred. The fact that he agreed to Rs 50 has doomed all the guys in similar attire I am sure.

So back to me being a meter + twenty. Over my multiple trips that is what I have inferred my fare ends up being. This ensures I am taken home using the fast and short route with minimum haggling. And what do I do when I meet the rare honest guy who does not haggle and goes only by the meter? I give him meter + twenty at the end. You got to be fair right?

1 comment:

  1. I am so like you as well - look like I will pay more :-)
    WHen I lived in Bangalore 12 years ago ( on 100 ft road ) when foreign-ness meant simply not being a Bangalore native - they still used to charge just the meter
    But I think Bangalore has changed a LOT