Public transport in Mumbai involves the transport of millions of its citizens by train, road and water. Over 80% of the commuters in Mumbai use public transport (suburban trains or buses). It is the most convenient, efficient and cheap form of transport to a population largely without sufficient income to afford cars . Mumbai has the largest organised bus transport network among major Indian cities. But the train network is constantly struggling to cope with the growing population. A train compartment is usually filled with over three times the passengers it was meant for at peak hours.
Mumbai's public transport primarily comprises the famed suburban railway lines, the bus services of the three municipalities making up the metropolitan area, public cabs/taxis and auto rickshaws, as well as ferry services:
- Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport (BEST)
It has a fleet of single and double decker buses and A.C. Kinglong buses as well. Along with this, the other two municipalities making the metropolitan area run their own public services:
- Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport (NMMT) operates its A.C. Volvo buses from Navi Mumbai to Bandra, Dadar, Mantralaya & Borivali and non ac buses from Navi-Mumbai to Mulund (East & West).
- Thane Municipal Transport (TMT) operates its buses from Thane to Mulund and Borivali.
- Suburban electric trains:
- Western Railway , running between Churchgate and Virar . Services have been extended up to Dahanu .
- Central Railway , running between Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Karjat/Kasara.
- Harbour Railway , running between Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Panvel / Andheri . A new line has extended the Harbour Line from Thane to Vashi /Panvel .
- Public taxi/autorickshaw services:
- Black and yellow metered taxis
- Radio Taxis: Silver Green run by Meru and Yellow Red by Gold cabs and Black by Mega cabs.
- Blue and silver airconditioned metered taxis known as Cool Cabs
- Black and yellow metered Autorickshaws which are not allowed in the Central area (between Colaba & Mahim in the West and Colaba and Sion in the East) of the city.
- Waterway services:
- Ferry services connect Vashi (in Navi Mumbai ) to the Gateway of India .
- Ferry services are available to visit Elephanta Caves and to nearby places such as Alibaug, Rewas and Mandwa.
- Ferry services is also available in northern Mumbai, across the Manori Creek . The barges operate at regular intervals across the shallow creek linking Manori to Malad .
- Ferry also connects Versova and Madh Island
Main article: Mumbai Suburban Railway
The Mumbai Suburban Railway is the oldest in Asia, it was founded in 1867. It is owned by Indian Railways and is operated by Western Railways and Central Railways. With a length of 303 km, It has highest passenger density in the world, 6.3 million people daily. Which is more than half of Indian Railways daily carrying capacity utilized by Mumbai. It has three lines: the Western Line , the Central Line , and the Harbour Line .
These suburban trains are popularly known as Locals and they run from 4 AM till 1 AM. Mumbai suburban services have various such designations (not all of them official, but in wide use). A 'fast' train or 'fast local' is essentially one that is fast (runs express, skipping stops) until a certain station, and from that station onward runs like a local, e.g., the Virar Fast runs express to Borivli, and then from there on is a local. The Karjat Fast is an express until Kalyan. The Ambarnath Fast Local goes CST - Dadar - Thane and thereafter stops at all stations on its route. The Borivli Fast Local used to run (1980s) from Jogeshwari to Mumbai Central non-stop.
The term 'superfast local' is sometimes used too, e.g., for trains that skip stations to reach Virar early in the down direction so they are available earlier to carry more passengers in the up direction later. On WR (Western Railway) lines, the term 'fast' train is often applied to one that runs as an express until Bandra or Andheri. A 'double-fast' is one that runs as an express for an even longer stretch compared to the 'fast' services.
On CR (Central Railway) lines, the term 'fast' train is often applied to any train that runs as an express to Kalyan, or until its terminus. There used to be a Kalyan Fast that ran non-stop from Ghatkopar to Bombay VT (now CST). The term 'semi-fast' is sometimes applied to trains that run express until Thane. The term 'bada-fast' (Hindi 'bada'= big) was used for services running express between Borivli - Bandra - Marine Lines, and is sometimes synonymous with 'double-fast'. The term 'triple-fast' has been reported (from a long time back) for express services between Dahisar and Marine Lines.
In 1992, Mumbai's WR and CR introduced 'Ladies Special' trains. A 'Complete Ladies Special' train has all its coaches reserved for women passengers. A 'Semi-Ladies Special' is a train with a few (e.g., 3) coaches reserved for women. These designations can be combined with 'fast', 'slow', etc., so you have terms such as 'Slow Complete Ladies Special', 'Semi-Fast Semi-Ladies', etc.
History of BEST Bus SystemEdit
The Bombay Tramway Company Limited was formally set up in 1873. After a contract was entered into between the Bombay Tramway Company and the municipality, the Bombay Presidency enacted the Bombay Tramways Act, 1874, under which the Company was licensed to run a tramway service in the city. The tram-cars were of two kinds—those drawn by one horse and those drawn by two. In 1905, a newly formed concern, The Bombay Electric Supply & Tramways Company Limited, bought the Bombay Tramway Company and the first electrically operated tram-car appeared on Bombay's roads in 1907. The passing years aggravated the problem of rush-hour traffic and to ease the situation, double decker trams were introduced in September, 1920.
Bombay saw its first bus run on 15 July 1926 between Afghan Church and Crawford Market. The people of Bombay received the bus with enthusiasm, but it took quite some time before this means of conveyance really established itself. For several years, it was looked upon as transport for the upper middle class. Those were the days when the tram was the poor man's transport; it carried one all the way from Sassoon Dock to Dadar for a mere anna and a half, that was nine paise. The bus fare for the same journey was four annas, that is 25 paise.
In response to the pleas made by the Government and the Bombay Municipal Corporation, the Company extended its services to the northern part of the city in 1934. Double deck buses were introduced in 1937 in order to cope better with the growing traffic. The first Limited Bus service in Bombay, and probably the first in the country as well, started running in 1940 between Colaba and Mahim.
Pursuant to the option given to it under the Deed of Concession granted to the Bombay Electric Supply and Tramways Co. Ltd, the Bombay Municipal Corporation acquired on 7 August 1947, the assets of the combined Undertaking, namely the operation of tramways and distribution of electricity in the city of Bombay as a going concern. By mutual agreement, the Corporation also took over the operation of the bus services, which was run by the B.E.S. & T. Company Ltd.
Thus, the Bombay Electric Supply and Transport Company was municipalised and came to be known as Bombay Electric Supply & Transport Undertaking.
When the corporation took over the Company in 1947, there were 242 buses in operation on 23 routes and these buses carried 238,000 passengers per day. At present, there are 4,680 buses , carrying 450,000 passengers daily on 400+ routes. With the change in the name of the city from Bombay to Mumbai, the organisation is now known as The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport Undertaking.
Present - Day Scenario
Some interesting facts of present-day BEST Bus
- BEST has introduced semi deluxe and Air-conditioned services on certain routes.
- From 19 November 2004, Route Special 8 plying from Churchgate to World Trade Centre started accepting cashless smart cards for Automatic Fare Collection in BEST buses.
- BEST currently has 1500+ environment friendly CNG (compressed natural gas) buses on its fleet and plans to increase the number of buses.
- On August 18, 2005, BEST introduced the first lot of disabled-friendly buses(five buses with special wheel chair-accessible low floors) into its service.
- Due to the 7/11 bombings, BEST installed an audio-visual surveillance system on each of its buses to monitor suspicious behaviour aboard its vehicles.
- Almost all buses have two LCD TV's per bus. BEST Buses are most maintained buses.
- The AC Buses - AS series are very popular with Office goers. AC Bus "AS4" from Oshiwara to Cuffe Parade, is the highest Income grosser for BEST. "AS4" is the most popular bus with morning office goers, as it covers a distance of abour 30 km from Andheri to Mantralaya in about 1.20 hrs only.
MetroEditMain article: Mumbai Metro Main article: Navi Mumbai Metro
In January 2004, a master transit plan, including a 146 kilometer metro, was unveiled by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA). The plan integrated a 146 kilometer-long metro system, of which 32 km is underground.
In June 2004, government approval was given for a 12-station elevated light rail line between Ghatkopar and Versova . The foundation stone-laying ceremony was held on 21 June 2006. The line was initially expected to open in 2008.
MonorailEditMain article: Mumbai Monorail
The Mumbai Monorail is an under construction monorail system for the city of Mumbai . It is being contracted by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority and it will be the first monorail in India . The Line 1 from Chembur to Wadala is now operational .
In recent years,Hyundai Santro and other hatchback taxis have started replacing Premier Padminis
The Taxis arrived in 1911 to complement horse wagons. The black and yellow Fiat taxis in Mumbai, are integral part of the city's heritage and have been depicted in numerous Bollywood movies. These metered taxis ply throughout Mumbai and have monopoly from Bandra to Churchgate on the Western line and Sion to Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus on the Central line . Beyond Sion and Bandra , auto rickshaws are not allowed and one has to hire a taxi. However, between Sion to Thane and Bandra to Bhayandar, Taxis and autorickshaws ply. A mechanical meter decides the fare and is proportional to the distance traveled.
Only 20,000 old black and yellow taxis on Greater Mumbai road and 35,000 New taxis like Maruti Alto, WagonR, Omni, Tata Indica, Santro etc. Recently Radio cab services have been introduced by some private companies. These taxis are brand new air-conditioned cars fitted with GPS and electronic metres. Fare is same as that of Cool Cabs. Presently operated by the following companies: Meru (Green Silver), Gold cabs (Yellow Red), Easy Cabs, Star Taxis (White & Purple), Forsche Taxi and Mega cabs (Black). However these taxis need to be booked in advance by calling their call centre number. It is convenient to call AC cabs in just 5–30 minutes depending on the place & time. Recently the police revealed that the law requires the driver of an unengaged taxi to take you to wherever you want to go, regardless of distance or time, in case the fare meter of the unengaged rickshaw/taxi is in a 'For Hire' mode. The modes were denoted by older mechanical meters in this manner: a) upright - for hire b) half mast - not doing business c) currently hired. If the driver does not comply, one simply needs to call the police on 1800-22-0110, a toll free number and mention the taxi's license number and the driver's name. The act of calling the police on your cell phone usually makes the driver comply with your request to be taken to your destination. Mumbai Transport commissioner Dilip Jadhav recently announced direct email id for complaints could be about anything: refusal to ply short distance, excess fare charged/tampered meters, fake tariff cards, misconduct by drivers or any other complaint. Other methods of complaining against the auto rickshaws and taxis is available on the Mumbai RTO website, here.
Some taxis now use an electronic meter, and soon are taxis are expected to use new electronic meters, which directly display the actual fare, not requiring a conversion, as required in the current mechanical taxi meters. The conversion of the mechanical meter reading to the actual fare, payable in INR is published on the Mumbai RTO's website here. The fare is applicable for yellow/black non air-conditioned taxis only. It is important to understand that the meter reading actually denotes the miles traveled, with the initial minimum set to 01.00. Thereafter the meter increases by 00.10 for each one tenth mile traveled.
The basis for the fare calculation is :
- Minimum fare : Rs. 16.00 for the first 1.6 km (1 mile).
- Fare for each subsequent kilometer : Rs. 10.00
The fare is payable at a multiple of 1.25 (i.e. Rs. 125 for every Rs. 100 calcuated for the meter reading) between midnight and 5 am.
There are total 246,458 auto rickshaws in Mumbai MMR as of 2008, Auto Rickshaws are three-wheeler scooters, having a wheel in the front and 2 wheels in the rear, which can accommodate three people in the rear section, apart from the driver in the front section. Apart from Buses, Trains and Taxis, Auto rickshaws play an important role of public transport in Mumbai. As per the ruling of the Bombay High Court having 2002 as a deadline, all auto rickshaws use CNG as the fuel.
Auto rickshaws are not permitted to enter Old Mumbai. The southmost points accessible to them are Bandra Fire Station in Western Mumbai and Sion Bus Depot in Central Mumbai.
Auto rickshaws registered in Mumbai are not allowed travel beyond the municipal limits of Mumbai. They have been allowed to ply between Sion to Mulund in the Central Suburbs and up to Mankhurd on the Harbour line. People who wish to travel beyond Mumbai to suburbs like Vashi, Airoli have to board/flag down/catch another rickshaw. In the western suburbs they are allowed to ply between Bandra and Bhayandar only.
Recently the police revealed that the law requires the driver of an unengaged taxi to take you to wherever you want to go, regardless of distance or time, in case the fare meter of the unengaged rickshaw/taxi is in a 'For Hire' mode. The modes were denoted by older mechanical meters in this manner: a) upright - for hire b) half mast - not doing business c) upturned mast - currently hired. If the driver does not comply, one simply needs to call the police on 1800-22-0110, a toll free number and mention the cab's license number and the driver's name. The act of calling the police on your cell phone usually makes the driver comply with your request to be taken to your destination.
Other methods of complaining against the auto rickshaws and taxis is available on the Mumbai RTO website, here.
A mechanical meter decides the fare and is proportional to distance traveled. The fare is available on the Mumbai RTO's webpage here in pdf format.
In general, one can use freely available sites like http://www.taxiautofare.com that's available on both computers and mobiles.
Mumbai Urban Transport ProjectEditMain article: Mumbai Urban Transport Project
The Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) is a project formulated by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to bring about improvement in traffic and transport situation in Mumbai metropolitan region. It envisages investment in suburban railway projects, local bus transport, new roads, bridges, pedestrian subways and traffic management activities.