World travelers find it difficult to run out of reasons to visit Mumbai. This island-city is home to a number of world-class shopping malls, beautiful beaches, and the Bollywood movie industry. It is known as the city of glamour and considered by college students, businessmen and professionals as a dream city. The streets of India’s commercial capital are known for red double-decker buses and annoying traffic jams. Yet, people can’t get enough of the city and so they brave these jammed streets anyway. There are different ways getting around Mumbai in order to enjoy the city’s many landmarks and tourist attractions.
Traffic jams are mostly due to the fact that Mumbai residents rely on public transport when going to work and coming back home. There are traffic bottlenecks everywhere, roads are poor quality and difficult to travel on, and things get even worse when it rains. Getting around Mumbai on land could be quite a challenge for the first-time tourists, and perhaps the best way for foreigners to do it is on a taxi cab. This is especially true when a visiting tourist is not familiar with Indian roads yet.
Mumbai taxis aren’t hard to find. They’re everywhere and may be hailed off the streets anytime. All taxi cabs are fashionably colored black with a yellow top, but many are dirty, rickety and with malfunctioning meters. There are no seatbelts since wearing it is not mandatory. Most are small to medium in size and without air-conditioning. There is a trick when taking an Indian taxi and then paying the fare. When getting in a prepaid taxi, passengers and driver negotiate to reach a fixed fare and the meter won’t matter at all. Minimum fare is Rs 16. When using the meter, the final payable fare is calculated by matching the meter reading with a tariff card. The system may be a bit complicated for first time passengers. When taking the taxi from 12:00 midnight to 5:00 a.m., passengers will pay a markup of 25%. There is also an additional Rs 10 for every large piece of luggage.
For a safer but more expensive taxi ride, private cabs are available on call. They are more comfortable and equipped with air-conditioning, seatbelts and digital meters. The cars are new and clean, and the drivers are polite and well-trained. Minimum fare is Rs 22. The leading private taxi companies are First Cars, Mega Cab, Meru Cab, Clear Car Rental and Fulora Gold Cab, which may be called on by phone or online.
Meanwhile, the auto-rickshaw is nowhere as safe and quick as a taxi but it is the most popular way of getting around Mumbai on land for tourists. However, passengers should be ready for a fun and cultural ride, yet scary and death-defying as auto-rickshaw drivers have no regard for traffic rules whatsoever. But tourists do get out of it alive, and can then tell everybody back home of the one-of-a-kind commute.
Other than taxis and auto-rickshaws, locals and visitors may take the train, the metro, city buses or rented cars. Tourists may also decide getting around Mumbai by boat. There may not be as many ferry rides that tourists would hope but the available ones offer a scenic tour around the island-city.
A leading attraction is India’s Elephanta caves along Elephanta Island. A number of private Catamarans and fast boats regularly take tourists to these popular caves. Located about 10 kilometers away from the city, these are sculpted caves bearing religious images dedicated to the Hindu god, Shiva. Other ferry rides take people from Manori to Gorai to Esselworld amusement park. There are also cheap ferry operators connecting Mumbai to Madh, Erangal, Aksa and Marve.
Indians from all over the country make it a point to visit Mumbai at least once in their lifetime. It is definitely the most important city. Getting around Mumbai by plane involves a number of regular domestic flights that reach the city from all over the country. While in the city, locals know that it is important to stay safe when getting around Mumbai. They avoid traveling alone especially at nights.