Getting around Mumbai (Bombay)
The first line of the gleaming Mumbai Metro (tel: +91 22 3031 0900; www.reliancemumbaimetro.com) opened in 2014 between Ghatkopar and Versova. You can pay for a single trip by token, but a smartcard is more economical if you're making multiple journeys. There are plans for additional lines on the network.
Mumbai is well served by its suburban rail network. It can get extremely overcrowded however, particularly during rush hour. There are ladies-only carriages which are recommended for all female travellers.
Single- and double-decker buses are also useful for getting around town. Fares are cheap around south Mumbai, but bus routes can be hard to fathom; check www.bestundertaking.com for information. Buses are often crowded and seats hard to come by; only a small minority are fitted with air conditioning. Tickets are best purchased from the driver.
Mumbai has plenty of black-and-yellow premier taxis plying the streets and they are the best way to get around. Unlike other Indian cities, autorickshaws are banned from the centre of the city and are only available in the suburbs.
You can hail taxis (black and yellow) on the street and drivers almost always use the meter without prompting. Fares (usually inexpensive) are calculated according to a conversion table, which all drivers are required to carry. City Cool Cab (tel: +91 766 655 4466) offers private air-conditioned taxis a third more expensive but also more comfortable.
Taxi drivers don't always know Mumbai's street names, so give directions by landmarks. Tipping etiquette can also be confusing; some drivers demand a tip quite openly, while others are content with the metered or negotiated fare. A 10% tip is generally acceptable.
Driving in Mumbai is not recommended for tourists. The streets are chaotic and poorly signposted and you'll have to dodge trucks, cows and potholes in addition to finding your way around. There are traffic regulations, but they're regularly ignored. Parking is another huge problem in Mumbai, and another reason not to drive.
Drivers in India must be over 18 years, although many car hire companies will insist on a higher minimum age. Drivers will need an International Driving Permit, and insurance must be arranged at the time of hiring.
Bicycles are popular on the crowded streets of Mumbai and there is no requirement for cyclists to wear helmets.
Motorbikes are available for long-term buy-back (you purchase the bike and the shop guarantees to buy it back from you when you're done) from Allibhai Premji Tyrewalla 205/207 Dr D Bhadkamkar Road, Opera House (tel: +91 22 2309 9313; www.premjis.com).