Of all the features offered by the roads of Chandigarh for its weary commuters, the most interesting is also the most common means of travel. Apart from the beautiful fleet of low-floor buses plying across the city, offering a ride from any one end to the other in just rupees five, there is a large assemblage of auto rickshaws offering rides to those who either missed the bus or who prefer to travel in comfort.
On a fine day, travelling along the lines through the heart of the main city, I reached a point where I would have to take a vehicle to reach back to hostel. Not willing to wait for a bus, I asked an auto rickshaw driver squatting by the side of the bus stop how much would he charge to get to Sector 26. Now, the auto rickshaws work with the basis of picking up passengers along the way, so that it would cost less for each single passenger and simply put, this is enough attraction for people to not travel via the bus service. The charges try their best to level with the nominal cost of five rupees charged by the CTU but for longer distances they have to bend around their rules and charge a varying fee between ten to fifty rupees. This gentleman here, if he may allow me to call him that, asked for ten rupees to get to my destination. I tried to immediately disagree, hoping to get a better discount. But it was of no avail and I decided to wait a bit. Within seconds another three wheeler was passing by. I stopped that one and asked the same question. To my disappointment, he too asked for the same amount of ten rupees. Hoping that I would hop on, he put his vehicle on neutral and waited on me. But I had started to walk back towards the first one. I decided that since I had asked the first one first, he had more right to the ten rupees I was about to spend on my travel than the second one. So I decided on the amount with him and climbed on. Now, however, a thought flashed across my mind, and hence we come to the central part of our discussion.
Since I had asked the rickshaw already sitting there first, was he more entitled to the ten rupees than anyone else, specially considering he fact that since he was waiting on the bus stand, he should be entitled to most of the passengers coming there and wishing to board an auto rickshaw. Or was the second auto the rightful owner to my ten rupees? Thinking about the effort he went into, stopping for me and staying there only to watch me get on someone else’s auto, I feel that he was more at loss by my decision.
The central argument by an economics professor would be to say that an expression of interest or a calling of rate list does not bind any firm into any sort of agreement considering the fact that such a procedure is applied to all eligible businesses in the market. But in the real life, even microeconomics changes form dynamically along with the environment and the fact that I asked about the charges of travel would make some people feel that it bound me to a stronger bind to choose this first auto than any of its competition. The inventive would even go on to say that I owe it to both the auto rickshaw drivers as I ha involved them both by my actions. But that would be offensively against my own interests which rest with arriving back to hostel at the least possible cost.
I can but think more into the argument, but a logical answer seems not to be in the offing, thus I ask the people if they have any answers. Do contact me personally or at [email protected] with your suggestions and answers. Until then, I continue to travel with a clear conscious hoping plainly that one day I have my own vehicle so that I may not be faced with questions of such questioning potency