Three-wheelers or Tuk tuks are quite useful when you are out shopping. Specially these days, because the car parks at most of the shops are guaranteed to be full during rush hour due to x’mas shopping. Therefore it’s a natural choice to ditch the car at a larger car park and then take a three-wheeler to shops and when hopping between shops. When my wife and I did this, we made a quite interesting observation.
In the three-wheeler park there is one metered tuk tuk to which almost all customers go to. But once the passenger mention destination, driver point another three-wheeler and ask the passenger to use that one. And it is not metered. When inquired about price, they will tell you that it will charge the same amount as the metered guys for the stated destination. I observed this behavior in front of MC as well as couple of other three-wheeler parks. Bottom line is, non-metered tuk tuk will charge at-least double the amount it will cost of taking metered one. Even if that metered one is rigged to overcharge.
In one occasion a non metered tuk tuk quoted 150/= from MC to House of Fashion. But the metered one cost us only 60/=. (And another 50/= for the return trip). I know this is not a massive save. But for a longer trip this would be much worse. Moral of the story is, always insist on a metered taxi. Even a rigged meter will cost you less than a non metered one.
There are few three-wheeler guys who don’t do this. In one occasion a trip from Wellawatte to Kollupitiya only cost me 10/= less than what the non metered guy quoted. And the metered taxi I took was not even from the same park. That non metered tuk tuk might be simply a guy trying to survive with the old ways in an industry that has already changed. But still I would always insist on a metered taxi. Because there is no way to know if you are being ripped off or not. And to the honest non-metered guys I would say, World has changed, get yourself a damn meter.
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