Don’t Get Ripped Off By A Tuk Tuk In Sri Lanka, Look Out For…

SriLankaTuks
Colourful tuk tuks waiting for fares in Kandy (Pic credit: McKay Savage/Flickr)

Travelling by tuk tuk is probably the most convenient way to get around Sri Lanka. Taxis always end up costing more, especially after getting caught in traffic; buses are poorly maintained, crowded and irregular. Metered tuk tuks are great, but they can end up costing a fair bit as well if you’re not careful about which ones you hire.

Local companies like Fair Taxi and PickMe have set standard rates of LKR40/KM (USD0.30/KM), but you’ll still come across unregistered trishaws drivers who opt not to use meters. These are the tuk tuks you should watch out for. Most of the time, these trishaw rides end up costing more, sometimes with a start rate as high as LKR60/KM (USD0.40/KM). Unfortunately, this is an issue all over the country as there are no government laws stating that meters have to charge the same per kilometer rate.

Roar, a Sri Lankan website, wrote shared 5 things passengers should look out for when hiring a tuk tuk:

1. Ask what the starting rate is

Ask the driver how much he charges per kilometre. Very rarely will you find a tuk tuk off the road that costs below LKR40/KM. LKR40 is the standard rate for tuk tuks off the road – but watch out for the LKR40+ tuks and those with meters starting at rates above LKR50 (yes, there are those, too!).

threewheel_meter
A driver fixing a meter onto a tuk tuk (Pic credit: Roar.lk)

2. Keep an eye on the meter

The battle doesn’t end there. Don’t let your mind wander too much – keep an eye on the metre and if you’re suspicious, do a bit of calculating. Divide the price of the ride by the kilometre count if you can’t figure out how much he’s charging, or keep an eye out for the 0.1KM jump on the metre. If it is LKR4 (or lower) per 0.1KM, you’re doing okay.

3. Fingers off the button

Watch out for any button pressing. We’ve had instances where the driver, after protestations, magically pressed a button on the metre to bring down the per kilometre charge from LKR50 to LKR40 – and that, too, mid-ride.

4. When in doubt, turn to Google

If it’s a route you don’t take often, whip out that phone and say hello to the 21st century. Google Map the location and if you’re feeling particularly paranoid (or diligent or even bored), track your progress from point A to B. If you’re going off the beaten track for no particular reason and your map tells you he’s taking a longer route, don’t feel shy about pointing it out.

SriLankaTuks2
If you think something is up with the meter, speak up about it (Pic credit: Indi Samarajiva/Flickr)

5. Don’t keep those lips sealed

In the event that you discover that dishonest meter, make it a point to tell him. Sometimes it’s the fault of the meter (or sometimes he will just conveniently blame the meter) but sometimes it’s the driver up to no good. We’ve run into LKR60 meters and made it a point to tell him we’re not paying the absurd amount. Be firm – sometimes they’re nice about it and sometimes not – but don’t let it turn ugly. There are less than pretty reasons as to why people resort to doing this.

Roar’s article also discusses why hiring tuk tuks in certain areas cost more and found that it all comes down to location. For example: “Tuks around malls like Majestic City, Liberty Plaza and Crescat generally cost more – usually LKR50 per kilometer.” The work around this is to “just walk a little ahead until the air of LKR50/KM tuks clears out and take one from down the road.”

Why hiring tuk tuks in certain areas cost more is because of location. (Pic Credit: Brian Ralphs/Flickr)
Why hiring tuk tuks in certain areas cost more is because of location. (Pic Credit: Brian Ralphs/Flickr)

For more information and a better understanding of tuk tuks in Sri Lanka, read Roar’s article here.

Lastly, a tip from Zafigo: If you happen to find a good and honest tuk tuk driver in the area you’re in, take down his number and ask if you could hire him for the duration of your stay. Most of the time, they will be more than happy to offer their services.

 
 

PageEnd2

Read Next:

SriLankaSafe_266x166 Cyclone_266x166
The Cities With The Most Dangerous Public Transportation For Women Are… Is Sri Lanka Safe For The Single Woman Traveller? What To Do If You Are Stuck In A Cyclone While Travelling
 
Get all the latest travel stories from Zafigo. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
 
Maggie De souza
As a homebody, Maggie likes spending her week-nights and weekends curled up on the couch with her furbabies, catching up on her favourite TV shows, all while sipping on a nice warm cup of green tea.

What Do You Think?



You May Also Like

couple-2585754_1920 (1)

What’s The Most Important Factor When Choosing A Holiday Destination?

According to the sample size of 1,000 Australians, it's all in the pictures.
pexels-photo-338515

Do You Know The Answers To Google’s Top Travel Questions?

Is there such a thing as a question too embarrassing to ask?
pexels-photo-105254

Travel Tech Everyone Needs (And We’re Not Talking About A Selfie Stick)

These new travel tech finds don’t just sound cool, they’re actually pretty genius in solving issues travellers commo...