Getting Around in Bengaluru
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It may be known for having green spaces, but getting around in Bengaluru isn't much different from other Indian cities. It can be chaotic – with vehicles, pedestrians and sometimes animals ignoring the rules and vying for dominance on the road.
Bengaluru's public transport is more limited than that in Mumbai and Delhi. However, it's well connected to the national rail network and the city has a relatively new metro system which is being expanded. Most people get around using auto rickshaws and buses. Expats may prefer to travel by car, but driving oneself in the city can be nerve-wracking. For this reason, most expats prefer to hire an Indian driver who is familiar with the various areas as well as the driving style of locals.
Public transport in Bengaluru
The Bengaluru Metro is often called 'Namma Metro'. The network consists of two colour-coded lines which serve about 40 stations. Fares vary according to the distances travelled. Those travelling on the metro infrequently can opt to buy tokens, but for those who plan on making regular use of the system, the best option is to purchase a smart card which allows passengers to load credit easily and make considerable savings.
Trains on the Namma Metro generally run from 5am to 11pm and are relatively frequent with a train arriving every 15 minutes.
The local bus network is extensive and covers most of the city and its suburbs, while a comprehensive regional bus network offers transport to areas beyond Bengaluru. Although local buses tend to be very crowded at rush hour, especially in the city centre, buses in Bengaluru are a cheap way of travelling used by many of the city's inhabitants.
Taxis in Bengaluru
Taxi cabs are more expensive than buses and rickshaws but are a more comfortable way to get around. They run on a meter and are usually modern, air-conditioned cars with drivers who know the city well.
Passengers may need to book their services over the phone, usually at least half an hour in advance, especially if they plan on travelling during rush hour. Ride-hailing services such as Uber are also operational in the city.
These ubiquitous three-wheeled vehicles are a quick way of getting around but it can be a hair-raising experience. Be sure to agree on a price before going anywhere – although they operate on meters, many drivers charge on an ad-hoc basis.
Driving in Bengaluru
Expats who plan to be in India for an extended period of time often hire a car and a driver. Local drivers generally know their way around and can get around quicker than an expat would.
Numerous companies offer these services, but expats should make sure they go through a reputable one, and check the car for scratches and dents beforehand so they don't end up paying for any existing damage.
Expats who attempt to get behind the wheel themselves are likely to struggle. Road conditions in Bengaluru aren't always good, traffic becomes gridlocked during rush hour, local drivers are often erratic and signage isn't always clear.