The city of Mumbai is the exciting finance, commercial, and entertainment capital of India. It’s home to nearly 19 million residents, making it the most populated city in the country. Navigating this mega-city isn’t without its challenges, but luckily there’s a public transportation system to help you get from place to place.
Should you be traveling to Mumbai, we’ve compiled some information below to help you navigate the public transit system options and make the most of your visit.
Mumbai’s local commuter trains make up the world’s busiest railway, transporting several million passengers a day. The Mumbai Suburban Railway is comprised of three lines: the Western Line, Central Line, and Harbor Line. The lines alternate between “slow” trains that stop at more stops, and “fast,” or express, trains that skip stops. Depending on the line, trains run regularly, some going nearly around the clock, and the trains can become incredibly crowded.
Be prepared to encounter hundreds to thousands of other passengers at a time, especially if traveling during peak times. If you can afford the extra expense of a first-class ticket, go for it, as cabins are less crowded.
In addition to these “local” trains, the Mumbai Metro currently has two lines spanning across the city, which offer spacious, air-conditioned cabins.
To help alleviate overcrowding on trains, the city has constructed a monorail system. The first phase of it, the Wadala to Chembur line, is now open. The other phase, the Wadala to Sant Gadge Maharaj Chowk line, is in an advanced stage of construction and is expected to be completed in the Fall of 2016.
By the BEST Bus
The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport Undertaking, or BEST, operates a fleet of thousands of natural gas-powered buses, serving hundreds of routes throughout the city. You can purchase bus passes on the BEST company website. The Thane Municipal Corporation also operates additional bus routes.
Most visitors choose to travel by taxi, which is by far more comfortable than the public transit but can be slow due to the volume of traffic in the city. Old black-and-yellow taxis have been mostly phased out and replaced by safer varieties with air conditioning, and all of them are metered. Current fare tables can be found on apps and sites like TaxiAutoFare. Auto rickshaws are now restricted to the suburban areas of Mumbai.