are autos actually on the meter now?

The first round of edits for my book have finally been completed. As I’ve been reviewing them, I read a comment from my editor Ajitha that I couldn’t believe. In my chapter about getting around Delhi, I said that, “Any driver who agrees to go by the meter is probably planning a route from GK-I to GK-II via the Taj Mahal.”

Here’s what Ajitha said: “No longer true, I think. Meter rates have gone up dramatically and autos actually go by meter!”

Could that be true??? I haven’t been in Delhi for a while, but I can’t imagine such a seismic shift. The only time autos would go by the meter for us was if the driver thought we wouldn’t know the proper route, or if there was a cop watching us negotiate.

Last week, I asked Twitter for other opinions.

And here’s what Twitter had to say.

One of my theories about Delhi is that it exists in a kind of quantum state, because everything about Delhi is true at once. The answers above reinforce that theory.

Still, I’d like more input. Has anyone else seen a change in the ways autorickshaws charge you in the last couple of years?

Update: more responses have poured in from Twitter!!/saroha_varun/status/109539632219299840!/_rhobert/status/109548878692491264


9 responses to “are autos actually on the meter now?

  1. I lived in Delhi from 2003-2005. I never once had an auto driver agree to the meter, no matter how many times I asked. I can’t believe things would be any different today.

  2. The last year or two, I found it depended on the route. Certain trips, they’d go by meter because that would actually be higher. Shorter or fixed routes, like a metro station to the nearest mall, would be fixed exorbitant rates which you simply couldn’t haggle over.

  3. I’ve been in Delhi nearly three months, and have only taken a metered trip in an auto once! But contrary to the post above, I can almost always haggle the price down a bit, even though you know you are still probably paying more than a local would.

  4. More auto wallahs agree to go by meter now than earlier. But still you can’t say that most of them go by meter.

  5. Agree 100% with Chris above (though I’ve been here for 5 months now and probably have gotten the meter used 5 times).

  6. In my case its about 60 percent of the time that they use the meter. I have been in Delhi since mid 2009, and it has certainly become much easier since the official price hike in the meter. It depends indeed on the route: if you walk out of Khan Market and you approach the autos already waiting in line to take wealthy shoppers home, its impossible – though they will agree to only Rs 10 on top of what would be the meter price. And even outside New Delhi railway station, for example, (not on the parking space but on the road outside) I usually get the meter. If they are hesitant, I sometimes go for a ‘meter-plus-10’ deal, to ensure the driver I will tip him. Surely, some drivers still try to overcharge you with 200 percent of the real price, but you never have to wait long before a more reasonable one drives by.

  7. Well not exactly but the situation, for sure has improved a bit. Mainly due to increased fares.

  8. i was in delhi two weeks ago and each time i asked to put the meter on they told me it was not working so not sure about this..

  9. In my experience, about 70% of autos agree on meter. Definitely not for short distances which in the case you don’t even have to ask. My little trick these days is that when I get in and the auto driver doesn’t want to put the meter on, I ask to see his licence. He usually puts it on immediately:) And I almost always add a 10 or 15 rupees to the fee. When I hail an auto over, I politely TELL him where he needs to drop me, instead of asking, begging, wondering if he would be so kind or negotiating. In case the meter is broken, I pay him what I know the distance is worth, confidently. He can take it or I’ll take another auto who would.

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