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.