1. How to find a Motor Bike Taxi in Sri Lanka.
You can only book a TukDrop MotorBike Taxi using TukTuk Passenger app available in both Google and Apple Store.
2. Use the helmet.
It is compulsory wear an helmet when riding. It would advisable always taking the helmet the motari (driver) offers; the roads can be bumpy and legally you can get fined for riding without one.
3. Hold on.
There is a small metal bar behind the seat where most people can hold onto and then comfortably lean back. You will see that Passengers don’t hold onto anything but that still scares me. Also, personal space is a non-issue in some culture; if you feel safer holding onto the driver they will have no problem with it.
4. Don’t worry about how close you are to the driver.
Again, personal space doesn’t exist here. As a Westerner your natural reaction will be to keep your distance and try to avoid sliding forward into the driver (there is nothing separating the two seats) and I would advise you ignore that desire. Firstly, you will not be able to prevent yourself from sliding into the driver. Secondly, it will tire you out and long trips can be quite an ab workout already. Lastly, the driver will think the effort you are putting into avoiding contact is weirder than the actual contact. It’s awkward, believe me, I know, but embrace it; will make moto travel so much easier.
5. Don’t feel bad asking to stop.
I still do this all the time to adjust my pack or take a breath or because my thighs are cramping. Just tap the driver on his shoulder and ask to stop. Most of the time they will know the word in English.
How to pick a driver:
There’s not really a science to picking a driver but I stick to these basics when I’m away from my home and need to rely on someone I don’t know.
Try the TukTuk App and check the estimated cost before you take the ride. Total amount payable is automatically calculated and details can be checked at the end of the trip. There could be a small variation between the estimated and actual fare due to the route and the time taken for the ride.
Take a peak at the gas tank meter. Stopping at gas stations, or as I’ve experienced, bars along the way where there’s a jerry can full of petrol, is awkward and unnecessary. So a full tank is a plus.
Things can happen along the way while you’re traveling. I speak the local language well, but in an unfamiliar place I am always biased towards the drivers who speak some English.
4. Quality of the equipment.
It might not be a fair measure but I always look to see if the visor on the helmet or the rear-view mirrors is cracked or damaged, an indication that the bike has already been in an accident regardless of how long ago.
5. Size of the driver.
I always feel safer with a man who is larger than me at the wheel because I know that if I shift my body at the wrong moment his weight still cancels out mine. This logic can go the
opposite way too, however. If you really want to avoid contact or you have a lot of luggage, choose a smaller driver.
Finally, I suggest you throw in your headphones to your favorite music, put on your helmet, and enjoy the ride. Once you get the hang of them the motorcycle taxis are a really easy way to get around. Best of all, the views are often breathtaking. Safe travels!