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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

What are the different means of transport within Mumbai?

Ravinder Malik DEC 10 2012
0 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

A city of paradoxes. if the mind-numbing traffic is one aspect of Mumbai’s reality to contend with, then the effectiveness and efficiency of its various transit modes transform the entire road and rail pathways into an arterial connectivity, albeit a clogged one. The various modes you could choose from are:

  • By Cab

    Mumbai’s signature black and yellow top taxis are generally available in plentiful inside the city limits, north central Mumbai. Moderately priced, you can hail one easily from the streets where you will find them parked. However, most have a mechanical fare meter that could have been tampered with. Make sure you check the meter is at 0 before sitting in and once you reach your destination ask for the tariff card to check that the fare asked for by the driver is correct. If you are travelling at night the fare is marked up by 25% from midnight to 5am. Also there is a charge of INR 10-15 for large pieces of luggage.
    For a comfortable, though slightly more expensive, ride, you could opt for one of the
    branded cab services that run on a government approved rate. You can easily get one by calling the service or logging onto their website within 40-60 minutes notice. They tend to be clean, with digital meters and are monitored via GPS. You will get the driver’s name, car plate number 20 minutes prior to the cab’s arrival through sms. Charges are INR 22 for the first kilometre and INR 15 for subsequent kilometres, with a 25% night surcharge, midnight to 5 am. Some, like Merucabs, have even started a service wherein you can avail of the cab for the entire day for n number of stops and destinations. For women travellers, Priyadarshani cab service is quite the security blanket in a cosmopolitan city like Mumbai. A cab service run entirely by women, your driver will be a woman all dressed in pink with a violet scarf.

    Meru Cab: +91-022-44224422
    Mega Cab: +91-022-42424242
    Priyadarshini cab service: +91-98202-21107
    Olacabs: +91-022-33553355
  • By Auto rickshaws

    You are likely to find autos in plentiful in the western suburbs, beyond Bandra and central suburbs, beyond Sion. Economical than a cab ride, an auto rickshaw may not be the ideal vehicle for long distance travels given the fact that they tend to be slower than cars and more likely to jolt on the not so well maintained roads of Mumbai. Also, before beginning the journey, make sure that the meter is at flagged down at 1.00 and the driver flags it up in front of you. Just like with taxis, checking the meter card for tariff won’t be a bad idea.
  • By Bus

    You will find the local bus service, Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport popularly known as BEST, to be quite efficient in its linkage and frequency. Connecting all parts of the city and suburbs including Thane, Navi Mumbai and Mira-Bhayanadar areas, their frequency tends to be anywhere between 5 to 30 minutes. You can see the destination of the bus marked on the front overhead in English and Marathi. However, the only problem, as with any efficient service, is that there is generally a long queue waiting to avail it and the buses generally tend to be crowded. Some buses run on selected routes in the midnight-5am slot, but generally they run from 5am to midnight. INstead of the hassle of buying bus tickets every time you board one, you could buy the day pass at INR 25 which is valid throughout the day and on any BEST bus you board except for the Express and A/C buses.

  • By Train

    Operated by the Indian railways, Mumbai’s suburban railway system connects entire Mumbai Metropolitan region. The way the city is laid out and the location of business areas here the entire city commutes primarily by rail network. The western line runs on 2 corridors northwards from Churchgate parallel to the west coast up to Dhanau road, a distance of 120 km. The Central Line on the other hand consists of 3 major corridors.  Two corridors run from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) to Kalyan (54 km), from where it bifurcates into two lines — one running up to Kasara (67 km) in the north-east and the other running up to Khopoli (61 km) in the south-east. These two corridors constitute the Main Line. If you want to switch from Central to Western or vice versa you can do so at Parel and Dadar where the Central main line shares two stations with the Western line.
    Now you need to remember that on both the lines trains that ply are distinguished as fast and slow locals. You can distinguish them by letter F and S written on the display monitor at each station as the train approaches. The slow locals tend to stop at every station along the route while the fast ones stop only at the important, major ones and would be preferable if you are travelling over a long distance.
    The central line also includes the Harbour line and runs a train corridor from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) to Andheri, Thane and Panvel. All harbour line services operate as slow services.         
    The trains consists of either 9, 12 or 15 coaches. It do well to keep in mind that the coaches are segregated as general, general first class, ladies and ladies first class. Men are not allowed at all to get onto or travel in the ladies compartment. There are also special coaches for the convenience and comfort of passengers who are disabled in anyway, suffering from cancer. These coaches can be recognised from the ‘beep-beep’ sound that accompanies them for the visually impaired passengers. Locating the position of different compartments can be difficult for newbies and tourists. You can ask the seasoned passengers or approach the vendors on the food stalls on the platform.
    The fare differs between the first class and general compartment, with the first class charging 10 times more; for example, if the fare for general class for distances upto 10 km is INR 4 then that of first class will be INR 40.
    Given the fact that the trains have the highest passenger density of any urban rail system in the world, saying that mumbai trains are overcrowded is bit of an understatement. During peak hours as many as 4,500 people are piled up in a 9 coach train that has a capacity of 1,700. It would be advisable to avoid commuting in the trains during the morning and evening rush hours, specifically 8 am to 11 am and 6 pm to 9 pm. Do carry a map of the rail system with you, it will be an added way to ensur eyou don’t end up going the opposite way.

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