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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

How can I travel within Kolkata (Calcutta)?

Vineet Sharma DEC 10 2012
0 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

Kolkata makes for a fine travel destination and with its rich Bengali culture finding reflection in temples, cuisines, and other aspects of day to day life, the destination promises many endearing moments. Read on to find out more about how to make your way about Kolkata:

  • Taxi

    Some of the best pictures of Kolkata are characterised by the cute yellow Ambassador taxis which have grown to become a symbol of the city. The taxis run with a metre and most drivers carry with them a fare chart, which decides the fare depending on the length of the ride. The fare calculation of a taxi runs somewhat like this. INR 10 is the basic fare which you have to pay once you hail the taxi. Once you have reached your destination, take the distance reading on the metre and multiply it by 2 and add 2 to the product (say the metre says 10 kms, your fare should be INR 10+ 10km*2 + 2= INR 32). Simple as it seems, you might have to shell out a little more if you plan to travel in the night or to the outskirts of the city. Do try to bargain, but if the driver doesn’t agree you will have to settle with a compromise. Keep in mind if a driver refuses to turn the metre on, say no and take the next cab.

    Aside from the taxis you can spot on all the streets, you can also hire taxis from
     Orix Cabs, Telephone: +91 33 44222222 or Megacabs, Telephone: +91 33 41414141. You might have to pay a little more for these cabs.  

  • Metro

    The first underground train in the country, Kolkata’s metro connects the north and south parts of the place from New Garia to Dumdum. Apart from being the cleanest and most timely means of travel around the place, this service is also the most regular one, with trains operating every 8 minutes. Not only is this service easy on the pockets (you won’t have to pay more than INR 14 per person), but it will also win your heart with its efficiency. Efforts are on to improve the connectivity of the metro train and you might just find an all new route ready by the time you land up at the place. If you are a night bird, bear in mind that the last metro train operates at 9:45pm. 

  • Tram

    On one of your strolls through the busy streets of Kolkata, you might just find people asking you to suddenly change your path. ‘Why?’ you would ask and ‘the tram is coming’ is what they would say! Astonished? Another surprising element of Kolkata is its tramway, which is not only India’s only tram network but is also Asia’s oldest surviving electric tram. Amazed? Hop on the tram to take a ride around the city to get a first hand feel of another thing the city of Kolkata prides on! The best part, the ride won’t dent your pocket by more than INR 5!

  • Train

    Established to reduce the traffic on the roads of the city, the Kolkata Railways line meanders through the city, starting from Dumdum and passing places like Chitpur, Burrabazar, B.B.D.Bagh, Prinsep Ghat, Hastings, Kidderpore, Remount Road, Majherhat, Ballygunge, Sir Gurudas Banerjee Halt and back to Dumdum. These trains tend to be quite crowded and don't be surprised to find a loud cacophony accompanying you on the journey. If you have young kids with you, don't let them out of your sight at any cost.

  • Bus

    A city that enjoys one of the best bus networks in India, Kolkata has regular buses plying on numerous routes which bring the city together and seem to shrink its size. When you find these huge vehicles stop for you with just a small wave, you will know why Kolkata is called a ‘sweet’ city! The conductors come to you as you hop on and charge a nominal fare depending upon your destination. A loud shout also accompanies all stoppages so you never miss your destination. Since this way of transport is very easy on the pockets, it is fairly crowded at all times. It is advisable to take care of your belongings (and kids) and to not get too friendly with strangers.

  • Autorickshaw

    A modest compromise between a bus and a taxi, shared auto rickshaws are a common sight in Kolkata. These vehicles are actually a little less crowded than the bus as they accommodate only 4 people, but are also semi-open and not as comfortable as taxis. The fare too is a little higher than buses and yet lower than taxis. The autos also score another winning point as they are more traffic friendly than both buses and taxis. The fares with autos are fixed as per distance, but you might be asked to pay a little more at night.

  • Ferry

    How cool would it be to ride to various parts of a city atop a motor vessel in water! Kolkata is where a tourist can enjoy a boat ride for an activity as mundane as intra city travel. Though you might be able to defeat the traffic of Kolkata with this one, this medium of travel is a little slower than the roads, but the riverside views of the city do more than just compensating for it. Depending on the popularity of the route, you can find yourself travelling in anything from a small ferry to a larger launch and the fare varies between INR 2 and INR 10, making it a cheap mode to travel around the place.

  • Rented Car

    Like most major cities, you can also rent a car easily to navigate your way through Kolkata. Lucrative as it sounds, driving in Kolkata can be a hassle as it will involve some serious honking and maneuvering through narrow lanes full of traffic. However, renting a car is a good thing to do if you plan to head out to explore the beauty around Kolkata. You can also opt to have a driver come along with you on the ride to save yourself the trouble of driving. Rental cars are generally charged for an hourly basis in Kolkata and these charges are determined by the age, make and category of the car.

After going through all these options, one thing's for sure - you won’t have much of a trouble making your way around this city. Experience these novel means of transport for a refreshing way to reach the place you want to see and come back with beautiful memories of the City of Joy!

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