Mumbai preview


Mumbaikars rely on buses and trains for convenient, cheap, and extremely crowded transportation to and from work. In fact, Mumbai's public transport system carries millions and millions of passengers daily. BEST bus system is the most widespread bus company, transporting more than five million people every day. The suburban rail system has a load of nearly seven million people per day and is one of the busiest urban train networks in the world.

The congestion of Mumbai's buses and trains will be relieved by a subway, but there is no underground system yet. Plans for mass rapid transit in Mumbai have been around for years and construction has recently started. Mumbai's metro should be completed by 2021.

Because public transport is so packed - the trains even have what is called "crush hour" during peak hours - the majority of expats commute in private cars. Traffic is very heavy, driving is haphazard, and parking is a nightmare, so many expats travel in a car complete with a personal driver.

The train remains the most practical way to get from the most northern parts of Mumbai to the southernmost tip and vice versa. Otherwise, it is recommended to avoid using buses and trains, particularly for women, who will find the severe lack of personal space especially uncomfortable.

Taxis and autorickshaws are the most common forms of public transportation used by expats and both are convenient, easy to hire, and inexpensive. Taxis are found throughout all of Mumbai and autorickshaws are available in the suburbs.

India has a number of domestic airlines : Air India, Spice Jet, Jet Airways, Go Air, Indigo, and Kingfisher. These carriers provide reasonably priced service to major and minor cities across India. Jet Airways is considered one of the biggest and best of India's domestic airlines, while the government-run Indian Airlines has many issues with delays and poor in-flight service.

Mumbai's domestic airport and international airport are merged into the huge Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. In 2008, Forbes ranked Chhatrapati Shivaji among the world's worst airports in terms of delayed arrivals. So, while there are shops and restaurants in the airport, bring a book and toys and snacks for the kids in case you might be waiting longer than expected.