Saturday, 6 January 2007

Mumbai Transport System

Foreign visitors will find the general state of traffic and transportation in Mumbai very chaotic. On going around town, taxis, auto rickshaws, buses and trains are available. The heart of the city is fairly easy to traverse, but getting from one end of the city to the other can take time. Roads are congested due to high number of vehicles that are part of any modern city, but the problem is exacerbated by the use of the roadside for many other purposes, for example, there are slums, businesses and poor regulated parking. No body oversees transportation in the city, and this lack of co-ordination makes a slow and difficult process.

Taxis: Taxis are one of the symbols of Mumbai with their black and yellow paint work. Taxis can be flagged down anywhere in the city. Insist that the driver reset and turn on the meter, a mechanical contraption on the hood of the car, before setting off. Do not accept a taxi if the driver says that meter does not work.
Auto rickshaws: these three wheeled vehicles, painted same black and yellow as standard taxi are allowed only in the suburbs north of Mahim creek. These are extremely maneuverable and are often the fastest way to get around the suburbs.
Bus: the buses are red color generally and on the front and the side of the bus route details are written. The BEST buses are one of the most efficient modes of travel in terms of service and reliability for shorter and long distances although not a very comfortable ride.

Water travel: Ferries ply the waters between the island of Mumbai and the mainland. Riding the ferries on a sunny day is a great outing., but the main use of the ferries is to visit Alibaug or to shorten the driving time to Kashid or Goa. If you live in the South Mumbai and are heading south of Goa or beyond, it is common practice for the driver to drive the 2-3 hours up the island and down the coast to meet you at Mandwa. You simply board a ferry at the Gateway of India and within an hour you can be picked up by your car and be on your way south. You can also hire ferry for a group ride/party.

Train: the local train provides the fast and cheap transport to thousands of commuters. Local trains serve the following routes
Western railway from Churchgate to Borivali/Virar and return
Central railways from Mumbai VT to Karjat/Kasara and return
Habour Route from Mumbai VT to Andheri and return
New Mumbai route from Mumbai VT to Vashi/Panvel and return.

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The name "Bombay" was derived from 'Bom Bahia' (The Good Bay),

.... a name given by Portuguese sailor Francis Almeida, in 1508 ....“Bounce back Mumbai” it is called by the locals, it is a city that has been through a lot in the recent past – floods, bomb blasts, riots – and come out stronger each time.

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