If you are a rickshaw wala – say you’ve been forced into this profession by financial emergencies or it’s a part-time job perhaps? – I hope you don’t belong to the Lordly species of this genus. In all reality, one of the most pressing demands of your life in Pune can be adjusting and immunizing yourself against the tyranny of the Rickshaw Lords.
Rickshaw Wala Trivia: Six Things You Must Know
#1. Always carry change.
There is no way you can escape from producing the fare in absolute precision, down to the last fifty paisa of your say, Rs 23.50 fare. But on a role reversal, you will most likely be subjected to a ‘kya do rupai ke liye jhik jhik kar rahe ho madam‘. (Read: The skies won’t fall if you pay me an extra two rupees.)
#2. Know your routes well.
Of course there are – what’s the word – honest rickshaw walas, but being too gullible is asking for trouble. Many of them are habituated into taking twisty turns and unnecessary longer diversions. If you don’t want the meter to explode, get your road directions in tune.
“Oh but that’s a one way Madam!’
“This is a short cut… there’s too much traffic where you say”.
“Why would I take a long route anyway?” (with an insulted expression)
#3. Be Meter Aware
Once seated, check to see the meter is down and a proper vertical at that.
Always calculate your own fare by taking a clear look at the meter reading. Don’t go by the rickshaw wala’s word alone and don’t have him fool you into ‘it’s twenty a kilometer Madam’ or some such nonsense. Look up the current meter rates and refuse to pay a penny more.
#4. Get over your fear of rejection
Sadly, it doesn’t matter if you are a corporate bigwig or a coaching-classes pamphlet distributor. You are as vulnerable to being refused a ride as anyone else you know. When Sir is in the mood he will say a vibrant Yes/feign a lot of thinking and utter an agitated OK. Some of the refusals are genuine: no petrol, picking up school kids, getting late for home. But for the most part it’s a big bad moody world out there and seven on ten times you may get a plain no as an answer.
#5. Don’t stand foul behaviour
If the rickshaw wala misbehaves or is too rude for comfort, do not hesitate to take action. Staying quiet would be encouragement: I shout and my passenger gives in to anything I ask for. Don’t encourage that notion.
#6. Avoid ludicrously priced auto parks.
There exist in Pune several Insane-Rickshaw-Walas dens. Yes, insane because they actually believe a five minute ride costs eighty bucks. They will make every attempt to lure you into being robbed by claiming there’s no return traffic from *insert your destination here* or that your ideas of reasonable fare are eighteenth century. Make a face if you want and Walk Away.
For e.g.: Pune Central’s (University Road) Auto Park.
Ignore the feisty rickshaw walas lined up here. You are sure to get conveyance a little way ahead what with the E Square Cineplex being a major crowd puller.
Good luck with your auto rides and treat yourself to a fine party the day you invest in private transport.
P.S. : It could be just that my experience with rickshaw walas has been at best mixed. But what’s the deal, it’s better to be prepared nevertheless. If you land a forthright ‘honest’ kind driver, you’ve a bonus.