Taxi and Auto-Rickshaw Travel

The base fare for Kolkata taxis is Rs. 25, and then Rs. 12 for every kilometer. However, check with your hotel to confirm, because fares frequently change. If a driver refuses to turn the meter on, find another taxi. Traffic, unfortunately, plagues Kolkata, and it might bring your cab to a full stop amid humid air and diesel exhaust, so at rush hour you may just want to find a sweetshop and wait until it's over. Or better still, if your destination is along the metro’s route, give the subway a try. A word of caution though—the office-hour crowd along the busy routes can be daunting even for those used to the rush-hour subway rush in places like New York.

Auto-rickshaws are cheaper (and sometimes dirtier) than taxis, but they're not as easy to find in the city center. Still, at rush hour they can be more efficient than taxis, which are more likely to get stuck in traffic.

The three-wheel auto-rickshaws used in Kolkata are often operated by unlicensed drivers and work much like buses, picking up passengers along fixed routes. Many taxi drivers are unfamiliar with the roads, so expect frequent stops for directions. Adding to the confusion is the haphazard way in which many streets have been renamed. Use your smartphone if possible to get around.

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