Buzzing around Baroda

The best way to get around Baroda (now ‘Vadodara’) is by three wheeler autorickshaw (‘auto’). There are plenty of these nifty little vehicles for hire and although their drivers hardly ever use the meters, the fares are remarkably reasonable.

Unlike Bangalore, where the auto drivers are often argumentative and dodgy about fares, the drivers in Baroda are usually straightforward and friendly.

We have made a couple of long journeys in Baroda. As the auto drivers were uncertain about what to charge, they used their antiquated meters. These must have last been calibrated many years ago. According to such a meter, a journey of about 6 kilometres should cost 4 rupees and 20 paise. This is ridiculous because the shortest auto journey in Baroda costs 20 rupees today. The auto driver looks at his ancient meter and then, without looking at a conversion table, decides on a fee. We made the 4 rupee and 20 paise journey twice. Once, we were charged 100 rupees, and the other time 120. Both amounts are reasonable, and far less than you would pay in a Bangalore auto or a Bombay taxi.

I favour autos over cars for getting around cities in India. The former are far more manoeuvrable than the latter. This is vital in a city like Bangalore, where traffic is poorly managed. In Baroda, however, traffic flows brilliantly compared with Bombay or Bangalore.

Unless you have huge amounts of baggage, hop into auto in Baroda.

The overloaded cab

Excerpt from “Travels through Gujarat, Daman, and Diu“, soon to be published¬† in paperback by Adam Yamey, NOW available as a Kindle with the title “TRAVELLING THROUGH GUJARAT, DAMAN, & DIU” ( buy your copy:¬†¬†here!)

DAM 1

Water gate in Moti Daman

A kind man driving a three-wheeler van gave us a lift from the tea stall to the gate where we had begun our walk in Moti Daman. Speaking in Gujarati, in which my wife is fluent, he told us to wait for an auto where he dropped us. The sun was setting, and there was not much traffic. Eventually, an auto already carrying four large passengers stopped to pick us up. Two of the passengers moved to the front of the vehicle and squatted hazardously on either side of the driver, and we squeezed onto the narrow passenger seat next to the other two people. After a short distance, we stopped. The two men squatting beside the driver disembarked and walked ahead of us. We drove on, weaving our way around the barriers of a police check post, and then stopping again when we had passed out of sight of it. The two men, who had disembarked, retrieved their positions beside the driver, and we continued across the river to Nani Daman. The driver explained that the two men had had to walk ahead of us past the check point in order that the auto would not be stopped by the police because of being overloaded.

We disembarked at the bus stand and paid a small fare. We saw many taxis parked there. Painted yellow and black, they were old Ambassador vehicles, just like the taxis used to be in Bombay many years ago …

DAM 2

Ambassador taxis in Nani Daman