What's the best way to get around Mumbai?

Wallace's picture
By Wallace - Posted on
12 June 2012
We're thinking of taking a few months off and living in India, Mumbai to be exact. Just wondering what the public transport is like and what the best way to get around the city is. Should we buy or rent a car?
Abhishek Mody's picture
Last seen: 5 years 49 weeks ago
Joined: 12/06/2012

Hey Wallace,

I am a local resident in Bombay, and you are more than free to drop me a line on abhishek.mody@gmail.com .. anytime.. :)

For the record, you can rely on public transportation in the city as it is quite organized and regular - taxi-cabs, buses, trains are pretty decent enough to get you where you would like to. .. do drop me a line and we can discuss further


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Catherine's picture
Last seen: 2 weeks 2 days ago
Joined: 08/03/2012

Living in:
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South Africa

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Hi Wallace, there are numerous options for getting around Mumbai and it's unlikely you'll need to buy or hire a car. Public transport in Mumbai includes trains, buses and taxis. If you do choose to hire or buy a car, its best to also hire a local driver who knows the roads and the city well. Have a look at out Getting Around in Mumbai page for further information on transport options in the city. 
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Anonymous's picture

Hi Wallace, I am a Mumbai resident and I consider Mumbai to be a gutter except certain areas for rich residents. Public transport is over crowded and one must take due care if an expat. I can tell you more facts but wonder why have you chosen Mumbai for your vacation.

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BeverlyRodrigues's picture
Last seen: 5 years 39 weeks ago
Joined: 25/07/2011

Living in:
Mumbai, India

Mumbai, India

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Hi Wallace

Mumbai is fast paced and exciting as you may well know. As I always say you either love it or hate it from the very first moment you step off the plane!! :)

Having said that, Mumbai has one of the best public transport systems in India. Primary means of transport include buses, trains, taxis and autorickshaws.

Buses are well routed through the city and are an inexpensive means of travel. The downside is that they can get very crowded, especially during peak hours. Also travel by bus is relatively time consuming. You can buy a day pass for USD 0.70 and travel within Mumbai city limits on all buses except the AC buses. A most economical way to travel around the city. The bus number and route is identified on the side of the bus in English so you can easily determine if you are taking the right bus.

Trains are the most preferred means of travel for most Mumbaikars. They are fast and available at a frequent interval of about 3 minutes. The downside again is the crowd mostly during peak hours. Travelling by train is an experience but you need to be a bit adventurous. Average travel time from North Mumbai to South Mumbai - a distance of 85km -  by train is around 1-1.5 hours. Compare this with road travel and could take anywhere between 4-5 hours or more!

If you end up travelling frequently by bus or train, you can get a monthly or quarterly pass which allows you prepaid travel on all routes. 

Taxis are an expensive means of travel and generally used in South Mumbai. Taxis charge by the metre (tariff computed based on distance - governmet approved) but unfortunately cab drivers do end up cheating passengers, especially foreigners and visitors to the city. So you need to beware. There are several private cab companies that have a dial-a-cab service and the taxis are airconditioned. They are slightly expensive but trust worthy and you even get a receipt for the fare.

Autorickshaws (Three wheelers) - are the most common mode of transport in the western and northern suburbs of Mumbai. They too charge by the metre and passengers need to beware of being cheated but autorickshaws are the most convenient and relatively economical way of getting around.

So depending on how comfortable you are travelling by public transport, you need not rent / hire a car. But if you do decide that public transport is not for you, then be aware that renting a car can be expensive. Most car companies charge a daily rent of around USD 70 for 8 hours or 80km a day. If you use it more than 8 hours or go beyond 80km, then you are charged per km USD 0.25 approximately. The rental amount includes the driver and fuel.

Hope to have helped you with your query. If you need any more assistance in you plans to visit Mumbai, please feel free to email me on expatguidemumbai@gmail.com
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Naval Rungta's picture
Last seen: 3 years 19 weeks ago
Joined: 12/08/2012

You have not yet decided upon the area of your stay. However you will find public transport much better on western suburbs which includes a) Suburban Trains from Virar to Churchgate b) BEST Bus Service c) Taxi & Rickshaws. Is it pure holiday or a working holiday ? For short stays avoid having own vehicle as hiring a vehicle with driver would be better. Contact for any other help or assistance without any obligation.

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