Indian Modes of Transportation

As my time in India is coming to an end, I’d like to give you a list of ways I’ve been travelling throughout India. Most modes of transportation are an adventure, at least for me.

  • Car – this may seem like a standard for most people in North America, but here in India, it’s a luxury. Most people with cars will hire a driver instead of driving themselves. Also, you can hire a car for a day through different agencies. Ask a local for a recommendation. Most are equipped with A/C. It’s a good way to travel if you have multiple people and travelling long distances – the cost can be divided between all passengers.
  • Taxis – if you don’t have someone to pick you up from the airport, you can always hail a taxi. There are different companies that are more trustworthy, like the black and yellow ones in Bombay are better than the blue and white ones. I’ve never been told the difference though. Also, you can order a taxi for a pick-up but depending on when you order one, you will end up paying an ordering/processing fee. All taxis are metered.
  • Motorbikes/two-wheelers – these are very prevalent in all parts of India. They weave in an out of traffic and can hold various numbers of people. I’ve seen up to five but have heard eight can fit on one – this includes children. I went on one for the first time and it was pretty awesome. We went slow so it was a nice ride. It felt really liberating!
  • Auto rickshaws – these are three-wheeled motorize vehicles that have seating in the back, driver in the front. Depending on the city you’re in, you will have to bargain for a price prior to getting in. If you think the drivers are charging too much, you can just walk away. There are enough of them around to hail down another. In Bombay, they are metered so there’s a standard price for the first kilometer or so and then it starts going up in price.
  • Bicycle rickshaw – humans powering bicycles with a carriage attached in the back. We went on one in Jaipur and it was a nice way to see the city at a slower pace. Also, this is a good way to travel short distances if you’re just too lazy to walk. You will need to bargain for the price. I’m not sure if they are available in all places.
  • Share Auto – a converted jeep that has two benches on the main cabin of the vehicle and two additional seats in the trunk. These vehicles run a set route and pick up passengers along the way. You have to hail them as well and ask if they’re going to where you need to go. I’m not sure how the pricing works, possibly based on distance.
  • Bus – This is the most economical way to travel between cities. There are buses that run inter- and intra-city. You just need to know which route you’re taking. We travelled to Kancheeparum for ~100 rupees return/pp, It was about 3 hours on the bus but a great way to see the country side and how people live outside of the urban areas. It can get crowded within the city so be prepared to get squished. To get on and off buses, you have to hail them and somethings you need to run to catch it. There are no doors, so people can hold onto the rails and hang.
  • Train – This is my favourite mode of transportation because I’ve never been on a sleeper train before. So much fun because it was an overnight train ride so we didn’t have to deal with the sweltering heat and humidity of the day. There are different prices depending on what type of ticket you get – regular seat, sleeper, 1 A/C, 2 A/C, 3 A/C and possibly others (I’m don’t remember what other classes there are). The sleeper doesn’t have A/C but it was fine and a fraction of the price compared to 1 A/C. I’d recommend travelling by train for over night trips. Bring your own blanket/sheet because I’m not sure if they provide it for you.
  • Horse carriage – this was a touristy thing to do, but so much fun being pulled in a horse carriage and we got to see parts of Bombay this way. You have to bargain for the pricing in touristy areas and cannot be found everywhere.

These are so far, the ways I’ve travelled, what other ways are there in India?


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