Experiences on three wheelers and taxis in Colombo

Traveling in three wheelers is great fun! It tests your patience more than it should! Everyone knows I have a temper, and I have lost it more often than not when ordering a three wheeler. I am ok with the drivers, we usually have a chat about traffic and mad drivers, so that part is fine enough. But getting a three wheeler and getting them to come to the right address is the worst thing. I am sadly soft spoken so I end up having to yell very slowly at the person on the other side (not just with them but with all people) to be understood. So there I am, yelling directions for the next house to hear!

If it is pickme, I have a different problem. One day, I ordered a wheeler from Borella. The driver was on the road to Maradana, quite close to where I was and it was well connected. I was watching the wheeler on the app, and to see, he goes beyond the turnoff, all the way to Viharamahadevi Park. It went past three roads that could have turned to my road – including Barnes and Rosmead which are the closest. It took him at least 40 minutes to come get me. However, apart from this one and maybe a couple other instances, pickme has been good. It has come fast and been quite cheap. This is a favorite option for me. Except like today when the app keeps crashing. They really need to work on the app!

Then there are also drivers who know better than me. If I say how to go, they don’t listen, they go where they want. Today, we came to Asiri Surgical in a wheeler under online taxi. When I got in, I told the driver it was surgical we wanted to go to. He goes a few yards and says we can take Park road. I said take the Jawatta road, and he agrees so I thought it will be fine, but then he turns onto the other Asiri so I reminded that it is Surgical. There was no response and the man slowed down also, and he drove looking left and right, more than the front. Near Asiri he asks, this or surgical! So my father-in-law says surgical and the driver says “ah I thought this one, could have taken the other road easily”!

Quick taxi used to be quick and cheap. But now, it never appears! They never seem to have a vehicle. And sometimes, they send a vehicle but the wheeler never arrives for the pick up. I think it is going down the drain now.

On uber, the problem is money. It charged me 160 to travel a distance of less than 3km, after having said it is 30 per km! Then when I queried it in an email, they said prices depend on more than the distance, that the time also matters. So for a 10-min trip, I have then paid Rs.70! The response was so unhelpful that my first uber experience was my last. Funnily, they wrote to me to ask if the response was helpful also!

However, fair taxi has been fairly good. Cheap and quite reliable. This is usually my first choice.

All in all, I am not too pleased with the wheeler system. I think it needs to be made better. But, agreed there are some good ones too.


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