Question about driver in India

Old Apr 17th, 2011, 08:52 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 13
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Question about driver in India

We are going to India for the first time in December and I have some questions about booking a driver "a la carte" apart from a company booking our hotels, etc.

We are starting in Mumbai and then flying to Udaipur, where we will need a driver to Jodhpur (with an overnight on the way) and then to Jaipur and onto Agra and Delhi (though we may do that portion by train if feasible).

I would like to know (1) a good recommendation for a driver and (2) whether I need to book the driver to be 'on call' while we are in each of the cities, or if we can get around via cabs or other transportation, and just get a driver between cities.

Thank you for any help in advance!
Philafornia is offline  
Old Apr 17th, 2011, 09:56 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,110
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You can probably hire a car and driver from your hotels to take tours in a particular city, but you will probably be much happier with one driver for the whole time. The costs for a car and driver are pretty reasonable in India and it gives you an opportunity to spend time with an Indian (make sure your driver speaks English well). The driver will be available to you as you and he agree.
indianapearl is offline  
Old Apr 17th, 2011, 10:22 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25,898
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
But there is certainly no shortage of transport in Indian cities! Taxis and rickshaws. You need to bargain, though - don't get in until you agree the price. If there actually is a meter, and the driver agrees to use it, keep an eagle eye on the route.
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Apr 17th, 2011, 12:21 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 13
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the responses. We are looking forward to figuring out taxis and rickshaws...
So, I think we may try to hire the same driver for the Udaipur-Narlai-Jodphur-Jaipur portion and perhaps a second from the same company for Agra-Delhi.

Any suggestions as to companies?
Philafornia is offline  
Old Apr 17th, 2011, 02:20 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,110
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I always recommend Ramesh Meena. He owns his own company, ramindiatours.com. He was our driver in 2009 and is extremely reliable, responsible, and an excellent driver (he has taken a safe-driving course).
indianapearl is offline  
Old Apr 17th, 2011, 06:27 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 29,049
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
you might check with castle and king... i used him on my last trip for some of my planning and for my transportation...
rhkkmk is offline  
Old Apr 18th, 2011, 08:10 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 259
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Philafornia
We have just returned from India - our umpteenth trip. We have always just done our own bookings and used local transport but this time we decided to hire a car and driver for the Rajasthan portion of our trip as we wanted to visit out of the norm places. We decided to stay with Vicky Singh in Kota and she recommended a driver Kan Singh to us. We prefer to use local people so that the money goes to help people rather than large firms who are used to western tourists with deep pockets and no sense.
Since you are flying to Udaipur and travelling to Jhodpur I suggest your overnight be in Ajmer (Badnor House) - you will definately thank me, or in Pushkar - Inn Dia. Nether of these places need more than a couple of hours to see the main things, but the accommodation is very good and the hosts excellent. They are small hotels of excellent standard. You can read my review of Badnor House on TA.
Back to Kan Singh - he was excellent and picked us up in Pushkar (we had taken the train from Delhi to Ajmer and then the bus to Pushkar)and drove us through Shapura, Chittaurgarh, Menal, Bundi, Kota, Tonk, Sanganeer to Jaipur. We cannot thank him enough for rescuing us from Jaipur station when the train was cancelled and taking us to the bus where he bought the last two tickets to Delhi - all at no cost! he has a great sense of humour and will go out of his way to make sure that you see everything you want to see. My husband wanted to take so many photographs on the road, that Kan Singh told him that it was Rs 500 per stop and we had a good game as to what it was going to cost us - not a cent! At the conclusion of our contract, he invited us to his family home and collected us the next day and took us there for a meal. We believe in improving the lives of local people rather than those of middle men in large firms. Think of whom your money is actually helping.
You would be best taking the train to Delhi from Jaipur and then the Taj express the next day to Agra and return the same day if you only want to see the Taj. You will need to book your tickets well in advance. Book on Cleartrip.com, using your credit card.
Alternatively I can give you the name of a private driver (again a sole operator) who will drive you between Agra and Delhi and return.
You can certainly use local three wheelers or taxis in the cities you stay if you do not have a driver. With the driver there will be no arguments and you will arrive at your destination safe and sound. You will not be able to negotiate well with the local three wheelers and taxis and most will refuse to use their meters. We used to travel from the Metro station Anhand Vihar to our place of residence. By meter it cost Rs 26. Without a meter we were asked up to Rs150. How will you ever know what a fair price is? And I speak the language! We were willing to pay up to Rs50 and generally bargained for Rs40 - $A1!
Most taxi drivers, three wheelers do not own their own vehicle and have to pay rent on it. We have no intention of trying to rip off poor people. Bargaining can get very tiring.
Contact me if you would like details.
Rasputin1 is offline  
Old Apr 18th, 2011, 08:16 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 6,346
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
rhkkmk, we are trusting you to check this all out
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Old Apr 18th, 2011, 11:10 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 259
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi hawaiiantraveller - what would you like checked out?
That I can speak the language? That I have lived in India and now live in Australia? Any other facts about my trip? I could give you my Singapore Airlines ticket number and all the address of hotels and you could check if I stayed there. You could also check with Col Sudhir's Farm in Kota to see if I stayed there. You could contact Badnor House Ajmer and see if I stayed there - the review is on Trip Adviser, so are my reviews of Pushkar and Kishan Palace Hotel and Out of the Blue Restaurant, Prapat Singh Palace in Chittaurgaur as well as the Chittorghaur Fort. You could also go online and check that a number of trains were cancelled during March due to the Jats or other scheduled classes demonstrating on the rail lines. The train we were to catch was the evening Jaipur-Delhi Shatabdi on 24 March. Ticket booked through Cleartrip. Do you want me to give you my ticket number to check out? Please check out the cancellation. Happy to provide any details you need to check me out!
Rasputin1 is offline  
Old Apr 18th, 2011, 11:57 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 4,121
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Rassy, Rassy, Rassy - calm down. Chill. Deep breathing.

rhkkmk is going to India soon. So hawaiian traveler is saying: check it out. Not check YOU out. lol lol lol.

Hawaii is also makin a little in-joke. Rhkk is a bit of a top end traveler - even tho' he thinks of himself as intrepid [lol] so is probably unlikely to do anythin that you, or I, would want to.

Nobody thinks you are making this up. So don't get the hump, my friend - you have a ton of good stuff to say.
dogster is offline  
Old Apr 20th, 2011, 04:23 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 259
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Dogster
I am a great fan of yours, so I'll calm down. Sorry too to Hawaiian traveller - you really got me going. Mea culpa.
We are definately middle of the road travellers who like clean linen and toilets! Also we are happy to share our experiences and knowledge to help other travellers have a trouble free but adventurous trip. I'm keeping a record of your blog to read from time to time. Sent you a congratulatory e-mail on it. See you are in Turkey, which is next on our list, after a trip to Sicily, so I'll be keeping an eye out for your reports on that.
Rasputin1 is offline  
Old Apr 20th, 2011, 06:18 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 4,469
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
"Getting the 'ump" oh that brings back memories of my times in England!!

Rasputin, thanks for the fantastic details of your trip, where you stayed, etc.
Now i'm gonna read your TA reviews--not because i dont trust you, but for the exact opposite reasons--you sound very experienced.
CaliNurse is offline  
Old Apr 21st, 2011, 12:29 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 4,121
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Ahhh, go-o-o-o-d. I like your spirit, Ras, so I'm glad you heard me. We need you in here. I'm deep into other, non-travel projects at the moment. One day all will be known. You can replace me as resident stirrer.

You should go here for the latest story BTW:
thedogster.wordpress.com/the-azamara-army/
dogster is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2011, 06:31 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 9
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Usually if you book car with driver,he is with you for the full rental period.
Handy ,but a lot depends on your compatibility with him.
To save the problems of accidents or killing a citizen or beast on the road,a drive is a wise move.

Incidently,some of the bigger car companies will not rent self drive to Foreginers.

Make sure the company does not insist you pay for excess insurance cover etc,as it is
The drivers all drove the "Indian way" so take your valium.
Staying with the one driver is wise,less hassle,but if you are changing states or territories,a fresh car and driver who knows the local area is a wise move.
Standard tip for the driver is 10% of the whole rental,but they will still try to hussle you for more.
nomad4u is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2011, 08:00 AM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 13
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for all the advice. I think we are going to go with a driver from Castle & King, as that was the best quote I received from the suggested companies (also from what I've read if rhkkmk is happy with them, they must be good?)

C&K agreed to provide a driver for the Udaipur-Narlai-Jodhpur-Jaipur portion of our trip, and then another driver from Agra to Delhi and in Delhi for a day, which will allow us to work in a train and a few driver-free days. We may end up just asking for the day in Delhi, and take an Agra-Delhi train.

Also, I will have the driver for a day in Jodhpur though I don't anticipte needing him, what do you all think about requesting a reduced rate for this day (understanding I still need to pay something)?
Philafornia is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2011, 12:41 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 4,469
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
re: your last question, when you get a price quote, they are giving you a total price based on averages. Some days you may be with the driver more, some days less. So unless you look at it as bargaining or requesting a lower overall price, i dont think it works to ask, "Can you charge me less for that one day."

I hope this makes sense, and others will give their thoughts.

One of the most shocking price quotes we (two people) got for a trip to India included driver and midrange hotels, and "only" $5,000 for twelve days!! As if that wasn't outrageous enough, on one of those days we were going to be in a train all day (no driving whatsoever) and one of those 12 days was the day we left for the airport at 9 a.m.!!!!!
CaliNurse is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2011, 12:43 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 4,469
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
p.s. Are you from Philly but no reside in California? Sort of my route out to the Golden (?) State too.
CaliNurse is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2011, 06:17 AM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 13
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks CaliNurse for explaining that to me. Also, I did the reverse, I am from California and now reside in Philly.
Philafornia is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2011, 12:59 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 4,469
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yes, you should be fine with C and K, per RHKKMK's rec. I'v heard nothing but good about them!

Also, I HIGHLY recommend hiring an Innova. So much better--higher off the road for better lookareound, SAFER, more comfortable and roomy inside.

IF you want to check one more quote, you could try Faith at Indian Panorama. She can provide long-haul drivers (but not just one-day ones).Used her help on last two trips for car/driver/hotel. Lipgirl used them too and was very happy. Pariskid (check this forum) just booked with them. I mention them b/c everyone LOVES the drivers Faith employs. We had two long-haul great drivers--personable, great English, fun, protective, informative) and this is how i first learned of the company) on the amazing Indiamike forum. Two friends who went with them also loved their drivers.

In India, so much depends on how safe you feel with your driver's skill, how protected (forewarned!) and careful they are in advice about what to eat, bathrooms, etc --for ex, we learned which dhaba (roadside open food place) to use or avoid etc.
CaliNurse is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2011, 01:09 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 29,049
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
yes by all means have the Innova, a mid-sized SUV.... anything else is not comfortable and too low to the ground for all that travelling...

C&K will take excellent care of you and if anything is not to your liking, arvind will change it for you.
rhkkmk is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
murraymac62
Asia
4
Jul 18th, 2017 12:59 PM
appalaw
Asia
14
Jun 30th, 2013 04:46 AM
seattle2012
Asia
25
Jun 24th, 2012 01:20 PM
CaliNurse
Asia
23
Oct 29th, 2010 08:00 PM
bg_collier
Asia
6
Sep 3rd, 2005 12:19 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information