Transportation in Mumbai is everything but easy to get along with as a tourist. Why? Because Mumbai, despite its size, has no sufficient public transportation. As of now, there’s just a single metro line and no tram lines or whatsoever. This basically means that you have to rely on buses operating without schedule, taxis, Uber, Ola and private drivers.
India is the fastest growing country in the world. Sadly, the transportation network is not growing even close as fast as the country itself. That said, transportation in Mumbai is a huge mess till today as there is rarely any functioning public transportation system.
Meanwhile, Indian railways has a good stand in Mumbai with offering connections to several cities in the whole country. Yet, you should be aware that train travel in India is extremely unreliable and everything but quick.
With the constant growth of the city, a metro got necessary for Mumbai decades ago. Yet, the first steps into the right direction were being made only in the early 2000’s. That’s the reason why there is just one line till today. This one is operating on a corridor of a little more than 10 kilometres over the ground. As of now, the metro in Mumbai only connects Versova with Ghatkopar, both parts of the city located far away from the actual centre. Right now, the only way to get to the city centre by public transportation (leaving buses aside) is taking one of the commuter rail lines, which are operating in some parts of the city. Yet, those are also not recommend for tourists as they tend to be extremely crowded and not very safe. The other three metro lines, which are in the planning or building phase will connect the existing metro line with several stations throughout the city. Lines 2, 3 and 4 are supposed to operate underground and also allow connection to the crowded city centre, where there is the biggest need for a metro in Mumbai. Yet, it is unclear when the next lines are going to start operations.
Metro lines in Mumbai:
Basically, there’s also a bus network in Mumbai. Yet, this one is rarely usable for tourists. Not only is Mumbai a generally very crowded city, which makes getting around in a bus very tough. Moreover, there is rarely any way to really understand the bus system in Mumbai. There is not much information about the route network or the schedule of the buses scheduled.
In contrary, you really have to find out everything by yourself. Sadly, most drivers don’t speak any English, which makes communication even more difficult. In the very end, tourists are not really supposed to take buses in Mumbai. Instead, you mostly have to rely on taxis or other ways to get around in the city. Yet, if you take a bus, it is also extremely cheap!
Mumbai is the city in India with the most taxis. Tourists and inhabitants of the cities use these taxis alike as the prices are very low. The base fare and the fare for each kilometre is approximately 20 INR (~ 0.25 Euro / 0.30 US-Dollar). Yet, you should be aware that the airport is far away from the Southern city, which means that a taxi ride costs around 800 INR (~ 10 Euro / 12 US-Dollar).
Generally, taxis are relatively cheap, but not very comfortable. Most drivers got very small cars and there are no seatbelts in most taxis. Cleanliness can be an issue from time to time as well. Anyway, taxis in Mumbai are one of the best ways to get around for tourists.
Mumbai is kind of a special city, even for Indian terms. There are way less rickshaw drivers than in cities like Bengaluru or Delhi due to the many taxis, which cost pretty much the same. Yet, you can still use a rickshaw from time to time. Be aware that you don’t overpay and orientate on the taxi prices named before. Another very safe and easy option to get around in the city (only if you got an Indian SIM Card though) is using Ola and Uber.
The drivers are very friendly and sometimes even speak English. The cars are also superior at most occasions. Don’t forget about the price difference, which makes Uber and Ola superior to using a taxi in Mumbai. For more information about Uber in India, check out our according guide! The last option to get around in Mumbai is using a ferry to one of the islands. These are relatively cheap and good to use for tourists (if you take the tourist ferry to Elephanta at least).