To people like me from Chennai, Auto is not just a word. It’s an emotion. A complex emotion that often brims with the feel that can seldom be described with words. I am sure every one of us would have had at least one encounter with these magic vehicles.
Ask any random foreigner, who has crisscrossed the length and breadth of our colorful country and I bet they would definitely describe taking a ride in the auto( or being take a ride for, by the auto annas) as a life altering experience, so much that we feel Bodhi tree is nowhere close to this.
Auto rickshaws are the next thing that is eternal and omniscient only to cockroaches. The street junction, the most expensive shopping mall entrance, railway stations, colleges, hospitals you name it and there will be a small humble auto stand.
Now, being aware of the auto tales down south and may be Mumbai, I shall try to explain the charm of the multifaceted community.
In Tamilnadu, the first step in hiring an auto would be to haggle. No left, no right, straight 50% cut on the quoted amount. It is a known secret that auto wallas fleece people and generally quote the price of the auto along with the fare for the trip. Auto meters are non existent. Share autos exist, which are essentially ‘auto pooling’ services.
Also, try to strike up a conversation with the auto wallas and I swear it will be an awesome experience.
This IT Hub has many autos and thankfully I found them to be more reasonable (cost wise), when compared to Tamilnadu. Meter concept exists and so do prepaid autos.
Actually it is one of those cities that has a very strong network of prepaid autos which hasn’t died out yet.
With friendly face and a few ‘boss’, ‘guru’ and some cute kannada words thrown here and there, you can be rest assured for a safe ride back home.
This is probably the only place where autos ply strictly by meter. The possibility of hiring an auto to travel, is another issue of its own.
In Mumbai, you don’t hire an auto, you tag along the auto, going where the auto walla wants to go.
With high rates of rejection, Mumbaikars need to be really lucky to score one with the auto wallas. Seems like an awesome practise to score girls too, just in case.
With many options like ‘Namma auto’ and ‘Ola auto’, it has become a competitive arena, where reasonability wins. Despite all the shortcomings, auto rickshaws are an integral part of our daily lives and an essential part of the Indian identity. Don’t you think so too?
This post is a part of the A to Z challenge 2017.