Find, in this article, an overview of India's transports system consisting of trains, buses, airplanes, taxis, as well as rickshaws, etc.
Regardless of the purpose and duration of your stay in India, traveling around will definitely be part of your everyday life. You might be surprised by the range of means of transports available in the country given its large surface area. Indeed, you can choose from trains, buses, airplanes, or even taxis whose rates are rather affordable. In major cities, you will find rickshaws and motor taxis which will allow you travel from one place to another more rapidly, especially during peak hours.
Good to know:
In general, wherever you may be, public transport will always be overcrowded. Tourists or newcomers may feel quite uneasy. You are therefore advised to purchase your tickets beforehand and, above all, to be very patient.
Like in most countries worldwide, traveling by airplane can be very time-saving, particularly during business trips. You can thus access to several regional and domestic flights to travel from one city to another at affordable rates. However, advance booking and ticket confirmation are highly recommended so that you secure your seat on the flight. You can find airline companies almost everywhere in major cities.
The train is one of the most popular and cheapest means of transport in India. You will find different types of trains in India, namely passenger and goods trains which can reach almost everywhere in the country. Note that the Indian railway system stretches over more than 63,000 km, serving not less than 7,000 train stations, both in cities and villages.
Express trains, for their part, directly link major Indian cities to one another, while local trains stop several times in cities and villages.
Good to know:
In general, Indian trains are very punctual both on arrival and departure. Advance booking and confirmation is therefore advised. You can even book your tickets on the train company's website. However, you are very likely to come across people who have boarded an overcrowded train, without ticket!
Night trains are also available in India. These are equipped with bunk seats which will allow you to travel over long distances more comfortably. Some of these also have wagons that are air-conditioned. As regards train schedules, you can view these at the train station and on train companies' websites.
Make sure to check on your belongings when traveling by train. In fact, larceny is quite common abroad trains. Moreover, beware of coolies who will often to carry your luggage at the train station. You never know!
Indian Railways www.indianrail.gov.in
Hyderabad Metro Rail Ltd www.ltmetro.in
East Central Railway www.ecr.indianrailways.gov.in
Mumbai Metro www.reliancemetro.co.in
West Central Railway www.wcr.indianrailways.gov.in
South Western Railway www.swr.indianrailways.gov.in
The bus is also a very popular means and transport in India, although these are not very comfortable. Indeed, Indian buses are generally overcrowded like trains, but traveling by bus is rather cheap. Rates are almost similar to those offered by train companies. Note that you will find two types of buses in most major cities : State buses and private buses that are run by independent companies. Private buses are usually cleaner and more comfortable than State buses.
You can take the bus at the bus station or at bus stops that you can find everywhere in big cities. Some buses also feel free to stop anywhere to take passengers on board. However, it is not recommended to take the bus at night for security reasons.
Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation www.msrtc.gov.in
Delhi Transport Corporation www.dtc.nic.in
Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation www.mybmtc.com
Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation www.upsrtconline.co.in
Kerala Urban Road Transport Corporation www.keralartc.com
Rent a car
You are allowed to rent a car in India if you have a valid and recognized driver's license. However, rental rates can be quite high, unless you have opted for carpooling. In general, you will need an average of INR 1,000 a day and an average of INR 2,500 a week to rent a car. In most cases, the car rental agency will offer a driver along with the car. This can be a great advantage for newcomers. Nevertheless, you are advised to verify the state of the vehicle before starting off.
When traveling from one State to another, you will be paying a road tax, that is toll. The rate generally varies from one State to another. In some cases, this tax is included in the rent price with big car rental agencies. It is best to inquire with the car rental agency beforehand.
You can easily find taxis anywhere in India, regardless of the State where you have moved. These can be easily distinguished thanks to their yellow and black color in most cases, especially in Delhi and Maharashtra. In other regions, these are painted yellow only while new taxis are white in color. Taxis are generally clean and comfortable. Some of these are even equipped with air con.
Indian taxis are equipped with a meter which will be started by the driver once you are on board. You will pay the indicated fare once you have reached your destination. In the case of long distances, fares can also be negotiated. In general, taxis can be called out in the street, but in some regions, especially in Bangalore, you have to hire these at the taxi stand.
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In some cities, particularly where taxi fares are higher, you can opt for common taxis which will allow you share the expenses with other passengers. These taxis will take on board a maximum of four passengers who are more or less heading towards the same destination.
Rickshaw is almost an essential part of the Indian landscape, especially in cities. In fact, you will find two types of rickshaws, namely auto-rickshaws which are motorized and bike-rickshaws which are not. The rickshaw is appropriate for short distances, whether to go to work, shopping, or to school. You can even find these in rural areas. To stop them, you can just call out at them in the street.
In general, rickshaws are equipped with a meter. Make sure that the rider starts it as soon as your board in. If he does not, you are advised to negotiate the price before starting off. In city outskirts and villages, you are likely to come across “tempos” which are a sort or small truck transporting passengers at very low rates. However, these are far from being comfortable.
In some regions, especially in Goa, you will find motor-taxis which are cheaper than traditional taxis and rickshaws. You can easily recognize these, thanks to their yellow and black color. However, motor-taxis can transport a single passenger at a time with only a backpack as luggage. Make sure to negotiate the fare before starting at these are not equipped with a meter.
Good to know:
According to law, the motor-taxi pilot has to wear a helmet, but not the passenger.
Finally, you can rent a bike if you wish to travel around more independently. However, these are not necessarily cheaper than taxis or rickshaws. Indeed, you will need around INR 50 a day to rent a bike.