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Public Transport in Mumbai Information

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Mumbai is an overwhelming city and getting around Mumbai can be a bit of a task if you aren’t used to it or are new to the city or are visiting for a short period of time. It is one thing to see the cultural diversity and the rich history come together in a fast-paced lifestyle and completely another to actually experience it. The Mumbai suburban trains, also known as the local trains give you an experience of a lifetime but is also something many tourists or visitors are scared to add to their bucket list and rightly so, it’s definitely not a piece of cake! 

So here’s a guide on how to commute efficiently in and around the city and some tips and tricks to help you survive yet enjoy the experience. 

The Local Trains in Mumbai

The local trains of Mumbai are literally the backbone of the city. With a rich legacy and pride in being the first railway network to be built not only in India but in the entire continent, the trains of Mumbai Suburban Railway carries more than 8million people on a daily basis. 

Mumbai Train Routes

The trains commute from north to the south of the city and majorly divided into four main corridors, the Western line which stretches from Churchgate to Dahanu Road covering 120 km; the Central line operating from CST to Kalyaan covering 54km; the Harbour line, connecting Andheri to CST covering about 49km and the newest addition, the Trans-Harbour line connecting Thane to Navi Mumbai covering a length of almost 20km. Make sure to watch out for the train 

Types of Trains in Mumbai

The local trains are prominently divided on basis of two categories, the first one being on the speed of the train and the second one being on the type of compartment. 

Most people are confused by the speed of the train and understandably. The trains are divided into slow trains and fast trains but the catch here is, the speed more or less remains the same, what changes is, the number of stops it makes on its way. While slow trains make more stops and cover all stations on the route, fast trains stop are the main stops and only cover only a few important ones. 

You will also find the trains being divided into different compartments. If you are a woman, you will find an entirely separate department only for women. While men are not allowed to enter the women department, women are allowed to enter the men’s department if they want to. Apart from this, the trains are divided into first-class and second-class. If you are ready to pay a little extra cash and avoid the crowd, you can easily buy a ticket for the first class (not guaranteed that the crowd will be less during the peak hours, it’s worth a shot!) and the second class is more generalised considering the number of people that use the trains on daily basis, it tends to be more crowded. Last but not the least, there is also a distinct department in the trains for handicapped people and if you climb that unless you are eligible for it, you will be fined but the local conductors. 

Tickets & Fares

As soon as you enter any station in Mumbai, the first thing you will come across is a ticket counter. If you can’t spot it, look for people standing in long lines and that’s your cue. If you are buying yourself a class ticket, you get the advantage to skip the line and directly go first! 

The general fare for the locals of Mumbai starts at the minimum price of Rs.5/- for the second class and Rs.50/- for the first class whereas for the tourists it’s the minimum price of Rs. 75/- for the second class and Rs. 275/- for the first class. If you are planning on travelling every day making a few trips around the city, it’s wiser to buy passes which are also available for 3days & 5days and can be enquired on the ticket counters. 

The best way to keep up with the schedules and routes of these trains is to refer to a local train map & download the app called M-indicator. 

Things to keep in mind
  1. Locating your train can be tricky. The platforms on the stations are divided into different numbers (so this is where you can find the number of the platform using the indicators on the station or merely by asking someone for help) & each platform has a board showing the end stop usually indicated by the first or first few letters like ‘C’ for Churchgate or ‘Bo’ Borivali, and this is where you can check on your map if your stop falls in this route. 
  2. Always lookout for the type of compart which is indicated but boards on the platform (so you know where to stand) or on the trains itself. 
  3. When you are inside the train, you will find a lot of vendors selling different types of commodities right from eateries/snacks to pieces of artificial jewellery, all at a very cheap price! 
  4. Always and always have a ticket with you to avoid getting in trouble! 
  5. If the train is too crowded, don’t forget to stand near the exit 10mins before your stop or else be prepared to miss your stop! 
  6. Avoid carrying valuables or keep them close to yourself because pick-pocketing is quite common. 

Metro Trains 

Unlike the Mumbai Suburban Railway, the Metro trains in the city and fairly new and operate only on one route, from east to west between Ghatkopar & Versova. These air-conditioned trains were designed to avoid the traffics of the city and supplement the Railway Network are much better than the local trains but lack the number of stops that they can make, but the plan is to widen the network over the coming years. 

These fast trains not only help to decongest the everyday population on trains but also is a new way to communicate. The main stop on this route is Andheri which also connects a lot of different routes via local trains. You can get down at Andheri and take a local train from there to reach your desired destination. 

The Red Bus Mumbai

Famously known as the BEST buses, these red distinct buses can be easily spotted on the roads and go to places that the trains don’t and are a quick and cheaper substitute to the trains if you want to avoid the deadly crowded locals. 

While a larger number of these buses have single decks, you will also find double-decker buses if you want to experience them. The buses almost commute between all spots and the routes can be easily navigated here. Another best way to keep a tap on the routes and find the closest bus stop is by downloading the m-indicator app (yes, the same one which is used for the local trains).   

Once you onboard these buses, the tickets can be purchased by the man called the conductor and the tickets start at a minimum price of Rs.5/- You can also purchase the monthly bus pass if you wish to commute every day. 

Taxis & Cabs

Kaali Peeli taxis are another iconic public transport that has been in the city for a long period of time. Though the city has seen a decline in the number of these age-old taxis (cabs) driving on the roads, you will always end up spotting a few to which can be hailed. If you are lucky, you will a chatty driver to keep you accompanied for the journey by telling you hidden tales of the city or just having a talk about the most random topic. 

While these iconic taxis are a must-try, Ubers & Olas have taken over the city by introducing convenient and easy to book apps. Just download the app and book your cab to the desired destination and your driver will be available to pick you up with minutes. An additional tip is to opt for sharing cabs which might save you a little money and give you a companion for your journey. 

Rickshaws

Being a part of the city’s generic public transport, Auto Rickshaws also known as just ‘Autos’ or ‘Rickshaws’ is as essential to the city’s locals as taking a breath. The most easily found transport facility, Rickshaws are more than just a means of transport. These three-wheelers are always ready to take you to where you want to go although sometimes you might get some rejections, well that’s the part of the experience. 

The Rickshaws run on a meter and the price is based on the distance covered by the rickshaw so let nobody fool you and charge an additional amount! Another thing about these rickshaws are that there is absolutely no window or a door but you can enjoy the wind hitting your face (unless you are faced by the dreadful traffic). The minimum charge of a rickshaw is Rs.21/- and increases after 1.3kms. 

The drawback of autos are there are not allowed in the southern part of the city after Bandra, so if you are travelling to any place in the main town, you will have to use other means of transport. 

The Mumbai Monorail

While this might be of little use to tourists, the monorails of Mumbai started operating in 2014, have become a part of the city’s public transport network and run between Jacob’s circle in South Mumbai and Chembur in the eastern suburbs. 

Ferries

Around the city, there are a lot of ferry services starting from different points which will help you skip the traffic and experience something new. But the most famous one remains the ferry available at the Gateway of India. The ferry from here can take you to two major spots, one being the Elephanta caves and the other being the famous weekend spot, Alibaug. The fares of the ferries range from Rs. 100/ to Rs.200/- depending on the type of boat and the destination. The service runs from 6am in the morning to 8 pm in the night and offer a breathtaking view of the Taj Hotel & the Gateway of India once it takes off from the shore. 

Mumbai Public Transport Tips: 
  1. Avoid travelling during the peak hours or else you will find yourself either stuck in the notorious traffic of the city or squished between people with absolutely no place to stand in trains. 
  2. The M-indicator app is really handy if you are planning to use the local trains or buses. 
  3. Uber and Ola are the best options if you want to travel without any fuss and reach your destination safe & sound.
  4. Some taxi/rickshaw drivers might charge you a little extra if you are not from around, always and always negotiate with them unless they are using the meter to calculate the fare.

While there is no lack of public transport in the city, one can find it a little tricky in the start, to wrap their heads around the different and unique types of transporting vehicles, especially if you are not a local but hope this article gives you a little insight on what to lookout for! 

Read also our guide on Mumbai Street food and Mumbai Road Trips.

This disclaimer informs readers that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual. We take no liability for the accuracy of the information and cannot be held liable for any third-party claims or losses of any damages.

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