The hitchhiker's guide

Surprisingly Common

The hitchhiker's guide

In a City where owning a vehicle is a luxury and travelling by autorickshaw sometimes is even more extravagant, it’s not surprising that a lot of commuters resort to the easier route — hitchhiking.

Despite the fact that hitching rides from strangers isn’t particularly safe, the convenience of doing so encourages a lot of college students and young professionals to do so.

And in a trade-off between saving a little extra cash and taking a bit of a risk, many feel that the former is enough of an incentive to ignore the latter.

Imtiaz, a student of Acharya Institute of Technology, points out that for many people, hitchhiking isn’t an option — it’s pretty much a necessity.

“I hitch rides to college nearly everyday. It isn’t too far — about two kilometres, in fact — so it’s convenient. I don’t often trouble myself too much about whether it’s safe or not, because my pressing concern is to reach college and get to class on time,” he elaborates.

Neither does he balk at the thought of taking rides at night.  “Taking rides at night isn’t really a problem for me. One just needs to think twice about who we are taking a ride from in the dark — that’s all,” says Imtiaz.

Others, though, tend to be a bit more selective about both taking and giving lifts to strangers.

Sajo, an engineer, says that while hitchhiking is rather common in his hometown in Kerala, he is a little wary about entertaining strangers in Bangalore.

 “Back home, I often ask people for lifts and give rides to others as well. I know the people there much better, so I’m more comfortable. But in Bangalore, I do hesitate — I’m not as well-acquainted with the City, so I’d prefer not to,” he reasons, adding that this is the logic followed by most of his friends as well.

There are times, though, when he waives this principle even in Bangalore — especially in the case of senior citizens.

“Once, I offered to give a lift to an elderly man. In such cases, I think it’s alright but in general, I don’t entertain hitchhiking,” explains Sajo.

Most girls, on the other hand, prefer to steer clear of hitching rides from strangers — for obvious reasons.

Jiya, a student of Vogue Institute of Fashion Technology, points out, “I don’t think hitchhiking is very common among girls in the City. I’ve never asked anyone for a free ride — it’s not safe. It’s mostly the men, and generally working men, who take lifts from strangers,” she sums up.

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