Madam - perfect my arseIf you read this blog regularly, you’ll be aware of my ongoing issues avoiding being ripped off by taxis and auto drivers.

It’s not going too well to be honest, but I try.

Most particularly, I always ask if they’ll put their meter on for me. This has pretty much never happened – I think once in two and a half years in Bangalore. And that was probably only because I had a very vociferous Indian lady with me, who was having none of it.

It’s not like this in other cities I might add, this is very much a Bangalore thing.

A friend told me that there is a tale – and I really don’t know if this is true or not, but I share it anyway –that the reason the auto drivers of Whitefield are quite so indifferent to bargaining and meter using is that they all used to be farmers. And as the farms have to a large degree been bought up and turned into apartments and office blocks, they’re all doing ok financially.

So they really can just sit about and take the rides they want – and ignore others – as they’ve got a little house somewhere and a little money tucked away.

I’ve no idea if this is true – and what makes me unsure about it, is that Whitefield is a farming area, but this issue is city wide. And I’m not sure that every auto driver is in the same position across such a big city.

Madam - auto meter and trafficWe tossed it about as an idea between us, and of course the only thing we could agree on was that it was annoying. And why would someone rather turn down work than work for at least something approximating the going rate.

My pal’s from Chennai and she was as irked by the behaviour as me. Apparently it’s not like that there, they use the meter.

Her husband pointed out that even if they do put the meter on there’s no guarantee that it’s not been tampered with. True.

Though not something I personally have to worry about, as I can never get them to switch the damn thing on in the first place.

So when I was next in an auto, I gave the meter – the not switched on meter – a long hard stare.

And that’s when I realised that the manufacturer is a company called ‘perfect’.

So it is a perfect machine.

It might be, if they ever used the sodding thing.


I seem to spend a lot of time talking about cabs and autos. Why not have a look at some of those posts here? It’s no accident I’m a little bitter about the subject:

The view from the back seat

Seatbelt is broken Madam, no problem

No, no, no, Madam

Or check out all the signs on the complete Signage Sunday page.

Have you ever had an argument with a taxi driver? Go on – tell me about it so I don’t feel quite so full of bile on the subject