Aside from tuktuks and roadside taxis you can order taxis in India with Uber or Ola taxi service using their apps.
The main problem with both is that although you get a good fare quoted, which really helps, the taxi drivers rarely speak English, hey that’s part of the fun of traveling, trying to communicate effectively with others.
Now you may think that this is not much of an issue with pick up and destination all entered online, but the next hurdle rears its head, the driver rings you up to find your pick up point. You have already entered these details and you are pinned in google maps. Who needs Google I hear you cry, a map is good enough, but pronouncing some street names is a test of your tongue twisting skills and gives rise to a few smiles as you realize you have got it completely wrong…..again.
Now the fun begins as you attempt to explain to the driver where you are located, and he is usually only two minutes away.
Fifteen minutes later the phone rings again and the same broken English or Hindi conversation ensues, usually a short one when its in Hindi mind you.
Eventually, you get a SMS message saying the taxi has been cancelled and you need to re-book. Oh hurray! I can go through the same process again, only this time I will learn how to pronounce street names correctly and I can catch the next train or airplane….no stress!
The roadside taxis vary greatly in how you flag them down. Some use their illuminated signage others use a combination of no signs, waving frenetically and emergency braking in order to get their passengers. Meter on or meter off, that’s your choice in many instances but make sure you know how much you are going to pay.
I was hoping to be helpful with some sound advice for fellow travelers in India needing to use a taxi, but find myself falling short.
Be patient, use the Ola or Uber services, worst case you are late or they cancel on you, at least you will know the right fare for negotiating in a tuktuk or another taxi.
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