Metered Three Wheelers in Sri Lanka

So today a friend and I were waiting for a friend to pick us up, when we were approached by two young ladies from a foreign country. They wanted to know how to get some place in a bus, possibly because the three wheeler guys charge too much. Reminded me of reading somewhere that during the Amazing Race in Sri Lanka, the three wheelers had charged exhorbitant rates all while on camera.

With the most popular page (uh… of course, that’s relative term, since my blog isn’t very popular) on my blog being the story of the three wheeler and the meter, I thought I might as well share the contact details of some Metered Three Wheeler taxis you may find in Sri Lanka. Indi’s got a more readable take on the Meter Tuks, which reminded me that this was still in my drafts…

These three wheelers charge a Rs. 50 call-up fee (which also includes one kilometer of travel) and Rs. 30 per kilometer thereafter, charged per every 100 meters. There is a 15% surcharge between 10pm and 5am. While waiting – whether in traffic, or parked – costs another Rs. 1.50 per minute.

I’ve also found that using a metered taxi, or at least their fare calculation is a great way of deciding the ideal fare when taking a non-metered taxi. Of course, since the non-metered taxi doesn’t get the benefit of someone calling and directing to the next fare, they’d expect a small premium as well. So for instance if I’ve paid 150 bucks to get some place in a meter taxi, I’m armed with the ideal negotiating tool – “but I went for only 150 in a meter taxi. I’ll give you 200″ (they generally ask for some more, but agree since it’s a reasonable rate). Works for me.

Link Lanka (0772 770277) apparently produces a 100% locally produced taxi meter for three wheelers. I got a flyer from them via email detailing the following Taxi services, which have proved to be a cheap way of getting about.

  • Budget Taxi (also known as 3Wheel Lanka – whom I wrote about earlier) – 0772 299299 or 0712500800
  • Romaka Taxi – 0112 836000, 0777 773898, 0713 836000, 0727 836000
  • Fair Taxi – 0772 588588, 0777 750777
  • Sanway Taxi – 0772 297003, 0777 535343, 0772 386356
  • Necessary Taxi – 0773 480680
  • Apple Taxi – 0775 559594 or 0775 559584

I’ve only travelled with taxis from the first three services mentioned above, so can’t really recommend the others. I’d suggest calling at least half an hour in advance to make sure you have a taxi. Understandably, peak hours will prove difficult for taxi hunting.

The process involves calling the Taxi people and asking for a taxi. Once they get down your number, the driver will call you direct. You will then need to tell them where exactly to come to, which may not be feasible for a tourist. And like Indi says, most of these guys don’t know the roads, so you need to have a good idea of where you’re going. But they’ve generally been very reasonable and polite people. Especially the former Tour Guide who drives for Romaka Taxi. I forget his name, but that one ride was full of anecdotes and advertising for Romaka.

You can also flag them down off the road, but that’s rare since they’re almost always heading to pick up a hire.

With the establishment of the Gas conversion workshop/outlet (?) in Narahenpita (next to CIMA library), there may cleaner (and possibly cheaper) metered three wheelers on the road soon.

17 thoughts on “Metered Three Wheelers in Sri Lanka

  1. It is 21.59 Sri Lankan time on the 2nd April 2011. I called all the taxi services mentioned above and many more that I’ve known of. Result is the same. Either they do not pick up the phone or just pick it up and be silent. Some had gone to extremes to switch off their mobile phones or taking receiver off the hook. Is this the service they provide to the general public?, where they have vowed to make a difference. IMPRESSIVE!!!

  2. @Vidya

    I’m really sorry to hear about your bad experience. Truth be told, I’ve had a few less than impressive interactions over the last few months too. But those have almost always been during peak hours, so I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt.

    Of course, there have been quite a few sms going around with even more taxi numbers on them, so I’m guessing the idea is catching on. And with more people choosing to with the metered ones, let’s hope standard improve as we go on…

  3. Hey… Thanks for this… I tried budget taxi and it took me only 160 to go from office (in Trans Asia) to PIM which was fantastic!!!! Can’t belive the way non-metered ones rip us off all the time

  4. There are pros and cons of this. Yes 100% agreed if ur traveling just one way. But if ur on a return trip with the meter taxi, you get charged 30 two times while coming down. Therefore if ur planing a return trip i suggest that u get and idea of how far ur destination is, and calculate the amount to e paid for a meter taxi. Then try to negotiate with a normal taxi for half the rate for the return trip. In this way u can get the max out of all.

    As some one commented above me, yes it takes me just 210LKR to reach PIM from my working place. If i take a normal taxi, it takes at least 280LKR-300LKR. so this is seriously reasonable. But the thing is, after office on a rush, its always almost hard to pick a taxi. U have to call them at least one hour before on the peak hours.

  5. @Kalhari – glad to be of service! Part of the reason of posting the numbers is so that I can find them too :)

    @Pora – That’s true – but I’ve generally had very little success with the normal ones in the first place. The cars generally give a discount when it’s a round trip (e.g. Kangaroo Cabs) so I guess someone should recommend these guys to do the same. And I agree that getting these guys when in a rush is difficult – so they’re mostly useful when negotiating a price.

  6. Yes, Nisada is correct. want to add another Number. Its SANGA Taxi 077 3081308. Excelent Service

  7. @Asith

    I want to add new TAXI Number. Its Kafir Taxi 077 2 399 399, for Excellent Service since 2012.

    Go for ride.

  8. I call all of this numbers to get a metered taxi to kotiawatte.. no one available.. this is 4th time i called budget-taxi and said they dont have taxis available.. but every time i go to the road empty taxis are there

  9. kafir Taxi number is not available..
    Sanga Taxi – not available
    hello taxi – call u with in 5min if not
    budget taxi – not available at all… (sorry to say people picking up the phone doesn’t know Locations)so funny

  10. Most of the time rainy days all the transport services are struggle in Colombo area due to heavy traffic & quick flood situations. but generally nowadays few taxi services provide genuine services to there customers we will see there actions & need to act wisely. I see many unfair taxi services charge more than 30/= per Km most of them charge 35-45 per Km I have stop my way in middle when those thing happen. Pls check your Meter & calculate yourself cost before end your journey.
    Thank You,

  11. Cyber Taxi – (011) 7 313 008

    TATA Nano(42/-)& 3-Wheel(32/-)……

    Colombo 3, Nugegoda, Maharagama,Kottawa,Piliyandala covered.

  12. Beware of Taxi drivers specially 3wheel. some of their meters are changed by his own rates..also waiting rates.
    every time try to get taxi with good company name…


  13. Another service for taxi Hello Taxi (R) the Alto AC car only 45 P/KM and 32 for 3 WHEELERS 0757919191

  14. Fair taxi rates have gone up now… 1st Km – Rs50/-, from then on its Rs.32/- per Km and waiting time is charged at Rs.2/- per minute. I have been using them fairly regularly and they have been reasonable. But today I used one and it cost the earth. I looked at the make of the meter and it was an indian brand, not the LINK one. I wonder if the driver had set his own rates without the knowledge of the company…

  15. I got a nano Taxi from hello Taxi services at the end of my journey with this taxi the meter shows Rs.145 and I paid that money but the driver asked me Rs.300 but I said I can pay the rate that the meter said but driver yelling at me and he said “I put A/C for you and I am coming from ratmalana so you have to give me $300″ I said no because I used lot of taxi services and they charging me as per the meter reading, so i cannot…then the taxi driver got angry and beat me and yelling at me…oh my god …this is the first time I met an incident like this…and totally disappointed about this “hello Taxi” services…so people please do not use this “Hello Taxi Service” because they are cheaters …I came from Germany so I am going to tell my friends do not use this taxi service any more….thanks

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