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Lessons learned while travelling around India in early 2003

  • Take down the number of the taxi/auto rickshaw even before you step in. Doesn't matter if done conspiciously. Valid for major cities or tourist places. At least in Mumbai and Pune drivers are required to post their rates and charge by the meter. They will try to do otherwise if they see an opportunity. Taking the number down shows them you know the are rules and you expect them to follow them.
  • Ask before you step into a vehicle how much it should approximately cost from another driver.
  • If suspicious don't pay till you have confirmed with another driver or local person.
  • Ask for a tarrif/price card that has day as well as night prices on it together (day only should send some alarm bells ringing). Otherwise they will charge you 50% or even higher for night time charges.
  • Don't pay until satisfied. These people can be very insistent and convincing to get at what they want.

Prepaid stand/counter for taxi/auto-rickshaw  - Setup by the government at various places all over India near Bus Stands/Railway Stations so that the local transport people don't cheat unwary tourists. Ask them for a slip/fare paper for the trip that mentions the amount you have to pay. And pay as per the receipt/bill and no more which the driver will always insist on anyway at the end of the trip.

Whenever getting down at a airport or railway station ask a shopkeeper or a local about where a prepaid stand might be found.

If using an auto/taxi that you can't find a prepaid stand for, always get the auto-rickshaw/taxi driver to turn on their meter. If they say that the meter broke, get down fast and into another vehicle.

Government run tourist agencies and buses
The government run tourist agency listed below provide cheap (by foreigner standards), clean and posted prices that you can rely on. The three we stayed in were very nice accomodations. The government run buses were, for the most part, in very poor shape and with little or no shock absorbers that can be tough for long trips. And they run on schedule at set and very reasonable prices.
MSRTC - Maharashtra State Regional Transport Corporation - Runs Buses
MTDC - Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation - Runs Hotels/Resorts in Maharashtra state
UPSTDC - UP State Tourism Development Corporation - Runs Hotels/Resorts and tourist sight seeing services in Uttar Pradesh

Auto charges in Pune
Look at the meter reading and multiply it with 5 and add 2 to it.
if reading says 3.00 then it is 3.00 * 5 = 15.00 + 2 = 17 Rs

Aurangabad Bus Stand to Ellora caves : 15 Rs (in Bus or public taxis)

Travel from Pune to Ajanta Caves in government run buses
Pune(Pune ST bus station) to Aurangabad (ST bus station) : 128 Rs
Aurangabad to Fardapur using a local bus: 50 Rs
Fardapur(MTDC) to T-Point using a local bus: 3 Rs
T-Point to Ajanta Caves using MTDC Unlimited buses: 6 Rs

Ajanta village to Buldhana ST stand: about 60 Rs
Buldhana to Chikhli : 50 ? (don't remember)
Chikhli to Lonar Bus Stand - 50 ?
Auto Rickshaw from Lonar Bus Stand to MTDC Resort(next to Lonar Crate): 20 Rs

Agra/Taj Mahal:

Agra Cantt railway station(in Agra) to Taj Mahal using
  • pre-paid auto-rickshaw: 45 Rs
  • cycle rickshaw: 25 Rs
Also the UPSTDC runs a tourist bus service from the Agra Cantt train station around 10 am I think.

Night time auto-rickshaw from Sion(Mumbai) to Mumbai International airport : 105 Rs

Though we got cheated by a driver who drove us all around the town and finally dropped us near a empty place (so that he doesn't have to deal with other people who we may want to ask) saying that he had run out of petrol and charged us 220 Rs.

Night time taxi charge from Sion to Navy Nagar - 205 Rs

Travel from Mumbai to Pune in government buses
From Dadar to Pune(ST Bus stand)
  • Semi-luxury service  : 120 or 90 Rs
  • AC Luxury service : 180 Rs
From Kurla/New Mumbai to Pune(Swargate) : 66 Rs

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Created using Viru's program, with Susan's artistic assist