The traffic in Chennai is chaotic and doesn’t seem to stop well into the night making it a hectic place to get around. The abundance, affordability and frequency of took tucks make them a very easy means of quick transit however there are some things you should be mindful about when using them.
What its like
The drivers are very aggressive and focused when it comes to their driving. So be sure to hang on for a wild and thrilling ride. You will certainly feel like a crash is immanent at several points in your journey, but will always somehow get by in a matter of inches.
There is an exhorbant amount of pollution and noise that comes with driving in a semi open vehicle if you have sensitivity to either it will be better to take another mode of transport.
It is always best to have with you a hotel card or some explanation in the local language of where you want to go or to return to eventually. We found that even staying in a well known hotel did not guarantee us a return ride. Many of the drivers were not only unfamiliar with the hotel, but could not read a map. The working knowledge of took took is based on what neighborhoods they are familiar with. Communication for most is very minimal in English.
Paying for your ride
There has been a big push in Chennai for drivers to use the meters however it has been largely unsuccessful. Drivers prefer to quote you a rate that is higher than what you should normally pay. You can insist on the meter which some will outright refuse and others who may turn it on will most likely give you a tour raking up enough mileage to charge you what they want. So it may be more time efficient to haggle for a flat rate even when doing so bothers us as travelers looking to promote better accountability and transparency.