How to get around India: Transportation Tips (I): Taxi, Tuk-Tuk and Scooter

In this article, I will tell you how getting around India by taxi, tuk-tuk or scooter can be also easy and cheap.

Probably one of the most intimidating things to come to someone’s mind about traveling India is transportation. It seems like everybody heard about the intense negotiations with tuk-tuk drivers to get a decent price for rides. What a lot of people don’t know is that India launched three apps that work perfectly and make life easier for travelers.

I am making this post about Uber, Ola, and GoaMiles because I think it’s the most important tip for traveling India. Above all, they are gaining more and more popularity because of all tourists coming to India and choosing to use them.

Uber

Certainly, everybody heard of this app and used it also. The good news is that it’s working in India as well. It’s not fully functioning in all areas, but in most important cities it does.

Even more, you can order from regular rides to shared ones, tuk-tuks or even scooters with drivers. Booking a scooter is a good option for solo travelers because it’s the cheapest option. The payment method is by card and you pay in Indian Rupees.

Uber App Getting around India

Ola

Ola is similar to Uber, but it’s slightly cheaper and it seemed like they had more cars.

The difference between this one and Uber is that you can only pay cash to the driver. This is a good option if you carry cash or if you don’t want to be charged in rupees on your national card.

Ola App Getting around India

The photo above shows you the main screen of the app. At the bottom, you select the type of ride you want and you can see an “estimated” arrival time.

Ola App Getting around India

After choosing the type of ride, you get the price. After that, you click on Confirm Booking and in a few moments the ride appears on the screen. You also receive an OTP number that you need to give to the driver once he arrives.

GoaMiles

The third app can be used only in the state of Goa, where Uber and Ola are restricted. The advantage of GoaMiles is that you can get it from the airport to any destination, paying less than the price asked at the pre-booked airport counters.

However, they have a small number of cars available and the majority are at the airport. Therefore, if you want to travel between beaches, it can be very hard to find a ride.

We were lucky only once, from Agonda Beach to Palolem Beach, but we had to wait half an hour to be picked up.  

Pro’s

  1. First of all, the price.

It can be even 5 times cheaper than the one asked by drivers on the street. (For example, we paid 120 Rs from the city center to Amber Fort, while on the street they were asking for 500 Rs)

2. Secondly, you don’t need to bargain. The price is fixed and you see it on the app before confirming a ride.

3. Both you and the driver can see the map of the journey. In other words, he won’t try to take you on a different, longer route.

Con’s

  1. The estimated arrival time is NEVER accurate. You can see on the screen it shows 3 minutes, but it will actually arrive in 10 if you’re lucky.

2. The drivers often cancel the ride, certainly because of traffic. Don’t worry as the app searches instantly for a new ride.  

3. Sometimes you have to choose a different pick-up point. There are certain areas where taxis are not allowed to pick you up from, for instance, the city center. But the app will suggest you other pick-up points close to your location.

Negotiating for a tuk-tuk

Above all, do not get into a tuk-tuk without setting the price. Many of them have meters, but I’ve never seen one working.

The first thing you have to do is negotiate the price. We initially start by asking the driver how much is to get from A to B. Almost every time they will say a higher price than it should be. From this point, you can use two types of negotiating, depending on the circumstances. If there are many tuk-tuks around, you can try and tell directly your price. If he does not agree, you can try with the next one in line. Competition makes them accept offers easier.

The second option, in case there are not too many rides available, you can go for a price lower than what you’re willing to pay. Therefore, the driver will tell you a higher price, which is usually the one you had in mind.

We discovered even a third option, but it’s not always working. In case the driver is not accepting any of your offers, leave. Start walking and he might chase you and say “ok, come”.

Keep in touch,

A.

Do you want to know how to travel in India in a different way?

Check out:

Getting around India: Transportation Tips (II): Busses

Getting around India: Transportation Tips (III): Trains

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