Posts Tagged ‘rickshaws’

With only a few days left, I have started to compile my favorite memories from the trip. I would never have experienced all these events, met all these people, and been to all these places without the rickshaw. Rickshaws have to be the most dangerous, insane method of transportation. Below, I’ve analyzed the main steps to surviving a rickshaw ride:

A random rickshaw. Taken from Google Images.

1. Hailing

Depending on the time, rickshaws can be very hard to come by. That’s not       saying there aren’t plenty of them around, but for some reason at certain  times none of them will stop. Once you get a rickshaw to stop, you say where you want to go, with about a 50% chance that the rickshaw will actually take you there. The other 50% is that the driver just shakes his head and drives off, almost hitting you on his way out.

2. Directions

When you finally get a rickshaw, you tell them where you want to go and they do the typical head bobble, which is the Indian equivalent of nodding your head in agreement. Even if someone agrees to take you to your destination, there is little chance that the driver actually knows where he is going.

3. The Journey

Once you’ve finally secured an auto, it’s time to get to your destination. The same ride from one place to another can range from a simple, straightforward 20 minutes to a traffic-filled, convoluted hour and a half. The rickshaw is entirely open, with no doors, and is supposed to be able to fit 3 people. Actually riding with 3 people is extremely uncomfortable and claustrophobic. Because there are very few traffic laws in Mumbai, the rickshaw squeezes in and out of traffic, so, often you find yourself in the already ridiculously hot sun, squeezed in between two buses with the exhausts straight in your face.

4. The Destination

As previously stated, most drivers have no idea where you want to go, but get close enough that after pulling over a few times to ask for directions, you finally arrive at your destination.

5. The Payment

Rickshaw meters are not at all like taxis. You have no idea how much you owe until you arrive at your destination. Then you check the converter sheet to see how much you actually owe. Often the rickshaw drivers aren’t satisfied with this payment, even though it is correct and will try to ask you for more. At this point you simply get out and walk away. Also, sometimes meters run fast because they have been tampered with. If you call the driver out he usually backs down.

A few more tips:

-Because there are no doors, beggars, hijras, and salesmen will approach you and get very up close and personal. There is nothing to do besides say maaf karna (forgive me in Hindi) and look away. I started to bring little packaged candies for the kids who come up begging for money or food. This way you know they eat it and don’t just give the money to a third party.

-Never get in a rickshaw with a random guy who says he’s a Mumbai tour guide. Story to come in my next blog. Until then, namaste.


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