Malkey Car rental in Colombo Srilanka- Feedback - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Malkey Car rental in Colombo Srilanka- Feedback

This post shares my taxi rental experience in Srilanka and will be useful if you are looking to rent a car in Srilanka. Else you can skip to read Europe or Australia posts here.

During my Srilanka trip this month, I hired the services of Makley Rent a Car agency. The reason I hired them was because I had tried their service way back in 2011 (my previous and first visit to Srilanka) and there was no reason to complain (though driver complained that our schedule was too hectic).

I prefer to avoid taxi rental and try public transportation/trains instead, but after some preliminary assessment, I felt public transport option will not be viable for Srilanka due to following reasons
  • There were many spots between Galle and Colombo that we wanted to stop and visit. Taking a bus/train won’t give us flexibility to stop at will and explore.
  • Few attractions (like Hiyare Reservoir, Nandana tea factory) etc were in the interiors- trying public transportation to reach there would have cost lots of time
  • Language problem would have made it difficult to converse with bus conductors or auto drivers. Having an English speaking driver would make it lot easier.
  • Unlike Singapore or Melbourne, Colombo doesn’t have a seamless public transportation assisted by an App for easy movement within city.
Because of these reasons, I decided to book a taxi.
Quote I got began at 42.5 LKR per km (INR 21). This was for Maruti Alto, the cheapest vehicle in their fleet. (This is 3 times what an Indica costs in India, but it is not fair to draw comparisons like that as different countries will have different rules and standards) Next was Perodua Viva, (a Malaysian model not available in India) or similar at 45 LKR per km. (In 2011, for 45 LKR per km I could have rented a 9 seater)

We were 3 of us, so I felt a small car is enough. I booked thinking I have already seen Alto and let me try Perodua Viva

I had to pay LKR 10000 as advance amount and the booking was confirmed. I shared my daily itinerary and asked them for their opinion- they said “it seems fine”. No further comments.

When we landed, driver was promptly waiting- which was great. But when I got to the car, I was disappointed- It was standard Alto, not the Perodua Viva that I had booked. Further, I was given a rate sheet at par with and not alto (Alto is LKR 2.5 cheaper per km). Rental agencies world-wide upgrade a customer to next higher category for free if booked category is not available. Instead Malkey downgraded me and tried to charge me at higher category. When I complained to the driver, his explanation was “This is a new car hence it will be charged at par with next category”- that was another shocker- age of the car doesn’t qualify it to be charged at higher or lower category. If the car was very old (our 2011 rental was old van) they wouldn’t charge us as per lower category. We stopped at their office couple of kms from airport- manager there said he can’t help with downgrade and asked me to mail the folks who had confirmed booking. He was also not aware that I had paid 10000 LKR as advance.

Later in the day, I shot a mail to their reservation team, who again tried to justify the higher category rate claiming the car is new. After my protests they agreed to charge as per Alto slab.  The car had 30000 kms on the Odo already- I don’t consider it as new car anyway. This downgrade remains as a big disappointment during our trip- more so because I wasn’t informed and an attempt was made to charge me higher. Other than this I don’t have any complaints on their service.

Other than the stated per km charge, there will be following expenses you should be aware of, when you rent from Malkey. (I think it is applicable for all rental companies, though I have not tried any other agency in Srilanka yet)
  • Airport parking- 600 LKR
  • Driver accommodation expense- LKR 1600 per day if you can’t provide one (expensive hotels and resorts will have free rooms for drivers)
  • Driver food expense- Rs 200 each for breakfast/lunch/dinner, if you can’t provide
  • Overtime expense beyond first 8 hours: About LKR 100 per hour
  • Toll, parking etc at actuals
  • Even though they have a small office near airport, km and time will start from their Colombo garage, which is 40-50 kms from airport.

Our driver had pretty decent English, has considerably helpful in checking with locals or taking us to places worth visiting. He seemed little surprised by the detailed planning and specific itinerary I had.

We logged about 580 kms in 3 days- Colombo airport- Galle-Hiyare Reservoir- Nandana Tea Factory- Matara-  Galle-Colombo and back to airport. Overall this taxi rental cost me about LKR 32000 or INR 16000. Taxi expense proved to be second highest expense of our trip. I would have liked it to be a bit lower

I have not tried any other taxi rental agency in Srilanka, so unable to offer a relative rating. Will I book with Malkey again in Srilanka? May be Yes, but I will definitely evaluate other agencies for my options first.

Saw these budget Nano taxis in Srilanka- first generation Nanos- should try once.

Have you tried taxi booking in Srilanka? Which service provider did you try? How was the experience?

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