Tyson´s Travels

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Indian Transport

>Getting from point a to point b can be a bewildering experience in India.

For long distances you can catch the very cheap and comfortable
sleeper trains. The drawback is tickets are often sold months in
advance. Luckily for us tourists there is a tourist quota meaning
tickets are possible. Although usually overcrowded passengers are
wonderfully friendly and you are usually quickly adopted as family for
the duration of the trip.

Failing the train idea buses are a good option. Slow and decrepit
public buses are often overcrowded and the roads make trips a bit like
a lengthy fairground ride. The people as always are kind pushing other
Indians off seats to make room for you or offering to hold your stuff
as you hang on for dear life by the door. Not as cheap as trains
public buses are still a bargain with fares for a 7 hr ride less then
a one zone bus ticket in Vancouver. . Don't ever expect a clean public
bus and always expect black grease outlines from where thousands of
Indians have rested their heads and bodies on seats.

Private buses are more expensive and are hit and miss. Not considerly
faster then public buses even if the driver is hyped up on all sorts
of legal stimulants, you are often hit with extra charges like ransom
fees if you ever want to see your bag again. At other times your
expensive sleeper bed gets confiscated in order to accommodate a small
family of Indians who are also being overcharged. Cleaning can be even
worse then public buses and AC can make Vancouver winters feel warm.

The most luxurious but culturally boring way to travel are the volvo
buses costing three times your average public bus. The seats have
plenty of recline space and a newspaper and a bottle of water are
complimentary. They are fast, comfortable but incredibly boring.

Probably the most despised of Indian transport is the lowly rickshaw
driver. Good for inner city travel or nshort country distances.
Rickshaw drivers are liars with no limits. They frequently point you
in the wrong direction, tell you all buses have been cancelled and
charge you five to six times the set fair. Indian papers are filled
with letters to the editor and complaints on these scoundrels. Many
Indians are afraid of rickshaw drivers suggesting they have gangs that
will beat up anyone who insists on paying the correct fare. The
government has taken the matters into their own hands and have
legislated meters in some areas. The installed meters are never used
or the metered ride becomes a city tour prompting the government to
threaten to install tracking gps devices. Other cites have banned
rickshaws leaving a noticeably nicer environment. The best solution I
have seen are prepaid coupons bought from a police booth ensuring you
aren't overcharged. Rickshaw drivers do their best to keep you away
from these booths.

Many drivers relate to stalking tourist berating them into overpriced
rides. I have personally been woken on trains by rickshaw drivers and
told to get off at the wrong stop or accosted in toilets by drivers
who want my business. Other tourists are mobbed by rickshaw drivers at
bus or railway stations. Other drivers amend the set rates on notice
boards with a marker and a ladder. Sneakier still drivers offer to
give discounted fares and then threaten the hotels into giving a
50-60% commission for dropping off a tourist. Needless to say I avoid
rickshaw drivers.

It is a shame to have this element in India especially when
non-rickshaw driving Indians are so kind and helpful.


Tyson Brooks

In India –


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This entry was posted on November 24, 2010 by in India.

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