You’ll meet some lovely people in India – but at New Delhi Railway Station you’ll probably meet some less-than-lovely characters who have spent years skillfully parting foreigners from their cash. It takes a clear mind and strong heart to withstand them, but hopefully reading about these common scams will help you recognise which kind of person you’re dealing with. Always beware of the kindness of strangers at Delhi Railway Station! And try to give yourself at least an hour before the train goes so that you can get your bearings amidst the crowds and noise.
1. “The booking office is this way”
You may be heading for the window marked ‘Tickets’ but a kind stranger will come up and tell you that this is not the ticket window for foreigners – they are so helpful that they will even take you there themselves! It’s true that foreigners must buy their train tickets at the International Tourist Office, BUT the kind stranger is taking you to a private travel agency instead that will either sell you a train ticket at an inflated price, or that will sell you a bus ticket at an inflated price. BEWARE of kind strangers spontaneously offering you help that you have not asked for. The international ticket office for tourists is on the first floor of the main railway building, on the left of the main hall at the top of the stairs, open 8am to 8pm, till 2pm on Sundays, and don’t let anyone tell you it’s closed down.
2. “Your train is cancelled”
A man who seems to be in authority tells you your train has been cancelled because of an accident, or fog, or a strike, and you need to follow him to the office where you can buy another one or get a refund. BUT they will take you to a private travel agency instead that will either sell you a new train ticket at an inflated price, or a bus ticket at an inflated price – or even a taxi at a huge price. BEWARE of being told of train cancellations – your train is running – probably a bit late, but still running…Ask at the Enquiries window or ask someone in uniform before you believe it. Scammers know that tourists are often on a tight schedule and will pay up to get somewhere important like Agra.
3. “You need a boarding pass”
You have your ticket or your e–ticket and approach the platform for your train, but you are stopped by a man who seems to be in authority who tells you that you need a boarding pass. He calls someone over to take you to the office where you can get one. You are taken to a private travel agency who checks your ticket on the computer and tell you that as you have not reconfirmed your ticket your seat has been resold and there are no others – BUT you can buy a bus ticket! It’s only twice the price of your train ticket! BEWARE of the boarding pass scam – you do not need one on Indian Railways!
4. “Show me your tickets”
You are settling into your seat waiting for the train to depart and the ticket inspector comes along. He has a navy blue jacket. He checks your ticket and informs you that you have not paid the tourist tax, or it is incorrectly issued – either way you have to pay 750 Rps or some other small sum in order to travel. He might even insist that you get off the train and go with him to the office to pay the extra, and as the train will be going in a couple of minutes you hurry to hand over the cash and there is no time for a receipt. BUT a little later the real ticket inspector comes along, with a uniform, a cap, a badge with a name and number – and a huge computerised list of names which he checks against your ticket. And he goes along the carriage checking everybody’s ticket, not just foreigners’. Of course, there was nothing wrong with your ticket. BEWARE of imposters faking authority.
5. “Follow me”
You arrive at your destination, you’ve got a hotel booked and plan to take a taxi there. Outside by the row of taxis a man asks you where you want to go, but, how annoying, the hotel has closed down! But he is so helpful that he will take you to another place nearby or the government ‘tourist office’ – BUT it’s awful and costs twice as much…..BEWARE of taxi touts on commission from hotels for delivering gullible tourists, look for the Pre-Paid Taxi desk at the far end of the station and head for there ignoring any offers of help – it’s run by the police, you won’t get ripped off with the fare and you’ll go to where you intended to go.
ReadyClickAndGo offers day trips by train from Delhi to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. To help protect you from these and any other scams on the railways you will have a representative from the office meet you at your hotel, take you to the station, and put you in your seats on your train. At your destination a guide whose name you will already know, will be waiting at the carriage door with your name on a sign, and they will take you on a private tour of Agra with a car and driver. At the end of the day they will put you back on the train and the representative will be waiting for you at the carriage door at Delhi to return you to your hotel! This door-to-door private service is from £110 per person including tickets and entrance fees, and offers you a convenient, comfortable and thoroughly enjoyable day tour to Agra! See www.ReadyClickAndGo.com for more details or email Tara@ReadyClickAndGo.com