If you need quick, private transport for short distances, then you might want to consider taking a rickshaw. There are two types of rickshaws in Delhi: bicycle rickshaws and autorickshaws. Their drivers are known as “risckshaw wallahs”.

Bicycle rickshaws are basically a combination between a wagon and a bicycle– the front part looks like a bike and the back looks like a wagon with bicycle wheels and seats two people. Bicycle rickshaws operate in neighbourhoods and usually won’t take you more than three or four kilometres away. They aren’t metered, so you will need to negotiate a fare (usually ranging from Rs. 20-Rs. 50 depending on the distance covered). The people who pull cycle rickshaws are usually very poor migrants from rural areas so please be generous with your negotiations. They won’t know English in most cases, but will understand the name of the place you are going as well as “left” and “right”. The word “sidha” (pronnonced seeda) means “straight-ahead” and is useful when giving directions. To get them to stop, say “bus” (which means “enough”) or “rok” (which means “stop”).

Autorickshaws look like golf carts and have engines and steering similar to that of a motorbike. They are licensed as a form of public transportation and have plate numbers. Autorickshaw drivers are expected to wear uniforms (grey tops with trousers) and usually know their way around the city. You can take them anywhere within Delhi, although many will refuse to go to outlying, far-away suburbs such as Noida and Gurgaon. Autorickshaws are metered (insist that your driver uses his) and cost Rs. 19 for the first two kilometres (or any portion thereof) and Rs. 6.5 for each additional kilometre.

Payment for both autorickshaws and cycle rickshaws is strictly by cash.