So I did the usual today. Waved at what seemed like a squintillion autos and pleaded that they take me home. (And squintillion, I learnt from Some Person on the internet, is a number so large that you have to squint to see all the zeroes it has.)
Till this guy came by.
I made my bid and waited for him to ask for a bribe to accept it. You know, 20 rupees extra, 100 rupees, one-and-a-half. Something.
He nodded. I looked at him, thinking maybe he was unable to make up his mind about what/how much to ask for. He only seemed to be signalling for me to get into the auto. The Miss you need to get in if you want that ride look. It took some time for me to register the fact that he wanted nothing more than the fare. Nothing. The sun had set, it was officially night and he demanded nothing extra.
Something had to be fishy. My find-a-ride-after-sunset algorithm had not accounted for this branch. Yet. Was my algorithm going to be proved wrong ? Would I, for the first time, reach home without paying the add-ons that came with every trip back home ?
And so Detective Yours Truly kept a watchful eye on the meter, expecting it to jump from minimum fare at some spot earlier than the usual. And whaddaya know. It didn't.
So I let my attention divert to the book that's been occupying me lately. (Yes, I read in Autos. In Jiggly, Shaky, Rickety autos. Even at night. With the light from my mobile phone. It is an experience on an altogether different level.)
The next I glanced at the meter was once I reached home. Well, it was about a 15 bucks greater than what I have been paying (or expecting to pay.) I'll give him a little allowance for the ever increasing average route length (attributed to ever increasing one-ways.)
But then came the latest auto-driver-fun-thing-to-do. Convert meter fare from the old Six rupees per km to the new Seven rupees scale. Its like the new ace up those khakhi sleeves. The new gotcha! at the end of the ride. Many of them have clearly upped the meter to the new rate, kept the minimum fare showing at 12, so they can do a double dance.
Sigh. I paid him quietly and went home.
I've been using the public transport (buses) lately. Quite convenient in that you can read without a mobile phone to assist you, buses have electric lights. But inconvenient in that you have to change buses, and it takes longer.
But the biggest plus, Cheaper! Rs.11 for a trip back home! Go for it - one of the few solutions to the city's congestion problem.