Most often than not, we have no option but to cough up a huge auto fare, regardless of how unreasonable it is. Here are a few apps to help you out and decide whether the fare you're paying is justified or not. The best part is that all of these are free.
For Android phones:
1) Tuk Tuk Meter 2
This universal app opens up to a cute little black auto with a green button in the centre. As soon as your auto starts moving, activate the app by pressing the green button once. When you've reached your destination, simply press the button again. The distance traveled, time taken to complete the journey and total fare will then appear. Of course, for this application to work you need to have GPS and an active Internet connection.
Users can access maps directly from within the app to check out whether the driver is taking the best possible route or another one to overcharge the passenger.
Tuk Tuk Meter 2 caters to almost every major city in India - it has the base rate per kilometre, minimum fare and minimum distance for 24 cities pre-programmed into its system. It also takes waiting charges into account before calculating the final fare. The Tuk Tuk Meter 2 app also works in non-GPRS mode as the original Tuk Tuk application.
But, the real icing on the cake is that you can customize locations by adding cities to the app - the base fare, midnight charges, luggage charges etc. that you can save and access any time.
Everything is automatically upgraded, which means you don't need to keep downloading the app over and over again whenever the rates change.
2) MeterDown for Autos/Taxis
A simple and easy-to-use app developed for Mumbaikers with two versions available - one for autos and one for taxis.
MeterDown opens up to a basic, single page with three columns - Meter Reading, Fare Payable and Midnight Fare, with the meter readings ranging from 1 to 27. It's essentially a basic meter card.
Scroll down to display the meter reading that matches the one you've got in your auto, and match it to the corresponding fare payable. Information regarding luggage charges and midnight fare timings is provided in the Information tab, located on the bottom right corner of the screen.
For the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad:
1) Mumbai On The Go Lite
This gives you information not only about auto and taxi fares, but also about bus and train (within Mumbai) fares.
Search for your buses by choosing either of three options - a bus stop's name, the bus number and the to and from area names. To get an exact taxi or auto meter reading, choose the taxi or auto tab, simply enter the meter reading, and your fare is highlighted on the bottom of the screen. Fares for both night and day, are displayed side by side on this one page.
For train fares first tap the train tab. You are then guided to another page where you can adjust the time of the train you want to board, from which location, and the destination. It then calculates the exact train fare you would be required to pay.
2) Simply Travel
A useful app for Bangaloreans to get an approximate auto and taxi fare and find directions for traveling within Bangalore.
Users provide their start and end locations and the app calculates the fare. This app also helps users book cabs with some of the popular cab service providers in Bangalore.
What this app needs though, is a drop down box to display the start and end points, rather than the user having to type it out himself. And if you don't know the exact spelling of the two points, well, it displays a very random fare. An auto-spell check would be nice.
With so many taxi and auto apps out there, don't you feel empowered? You no longer have to travel in fear of paying an exorbitantly high price.
Tuk Tuk Meter 2 (Google Play, Free)
MeterDown - Mumbai Auto (Google Play, Free)
Mumbai On The Go Lite (iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad, Free)
Simply Travel (iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad, Free)