Find out about the public transport options for getting to, and getting around, India…
Travelling by Bus
Each city has a local bus network that can be a challenge to negotiate for newcomers. Though fares are cheap, buses can get very crowded during peak hours and this is not the fastest mode of transportation. Destinations are not always displayed in English; ask the conductor where the bus is going before boarding. Buses only stop at bus stops and do not always come to a complete stop – be prepared to hop on to a moving bus. The conductor collects fares and issues tickets. Bus passes are also available. There is separate seating for women at the front of the bus.
Air-conditioned Volvo buses are being introduced in many cities, which offer a more comfortable and faster ride than the older city buses.
For information on fares and routes for public buses visit:
- Delhi Transport Corporation
- Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport
- Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation
- Metropolitan Transport Corporation
Travelling by Auto-rickshaw
The yellow and green (or yellow and black) three-wheeled auto-rickshaws (referred to as ‘autos’ by locals) generally run on a meter system and are a convenient mode of transport. In Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad, drivers are required to use the meter and generally comply. In other cities like Delhi and Chennai, the fare must be negotiated.
Auto-rickshaws are usually a cheap option good for short, local journeys but uncomfortable for longer trips. Some smaller cities and some parts of Delhi still have cycle rickshaws, but these are not regulated. Kolkata still has some hand-pulled rickshaws. The auto-rickshaws should display a licence (though many don't). They can be hailed in the street like taxis.
Travelling by Taxi
Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata have old-fashioned black, yellow, or black and yellow taxis, which run on a meter and can be flagged down in the street.
There are new national taxi companies with modern fleets of air-conditioned cabs running in Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderbad and Mumbai, which can be reserved in advance by telephone or online. These include:
There are many private taxi companies in every city running out of roadside offices. These can be rented for the day or for longer trips out of town. Rates are generally fixed by the hour or by the day.
Many expatriates are not comfortable driving on Indian roads and find public transport inconvenient and uncomfortable. Many use the services of a full-time driver, which is often covered in their expat salary package.
Travelling by Metro and Suburban Trains
Delhi and Kolkata have an extensive metro system, which is the quickest way to get around, especially during peak hours.
The new Bangalore metro opened in 2011 and has only 6 stations along a 7 Km stretch, but the next phases are due for completion in 2013, 2014 and 2017.
Mumbai’s suburban railway system is the city’s lifeline, transporting over 7 million passengers a day, and providing the fastest way to travel in this traffic-choked city. These trains are very crowded during peak times and can be a challenge to navigate.
- For more information on Mumbai’s suburban railway system, including fares and timetables, visit the Mumbai Local Trains website: Click here
Chennai also has a suburban train system and a metro line is currently in construction.
- For more information on the Chennai suburban train timetable visit the Mass Rapid Transport System website: Click here