Monday, April 28, 2014

Public Transportation in India: An Overview and Tips to Getting Around in the Country.

One of the best ways to become acquainted with a country’s culture and landscape is to identify with the many different ways that residents of that country get around in their homeland. Transportation is a big part of every person’s journey and your perception of a country can change immensely depending on which window you’re staring out of, who’s sitting next to you and how comfortable the ride is. Comfort and preference are relative, but making an informed decision will surely ease the process.

Trains:

Train: the widely preferred Public mode of transportation in India
An overcrowded train, one of the most widely used transport while travelling in India.
Image Credit: Telegraph.co.uk

“One seat on the roof coming right up!”. Don’t worry. This isn't likely to happen on an ordinary day, nor is it encouraged, but this picture does get you ready for the masses!

If you’re new to the country, your source of information is just as important as the ticket you purchase. A governmental source can always be trusted because you know that you’re getting the most up to date information on reservation enquiries and availability. Traveling by train is the preferred method of travel for most people because it’s quick, efficient and reliable. India is a huge country and there’s far too much to see. A train ride will take you far and to several locations like Jaisalmer, Simla and of course Delhi in a short amount of time. If you think you’re going to be taking the train throughout the duration of your trip, it’s also probably a good idea to consider purchasing an Indrail Pass. You’ll want to make all your reservations far in advance if you want to be lucky enough to find a seat as last minute bookings are not allowed or common.

Bus:

Locals will tell you that buses are one of the better ways to get around in India as well, especially if you’re on a tight budget. There are definitely a lot more services for bus booking than trains which also makes it slightly more challenging, but narrowing down your search to the most popular names like Goibibo, MakeMyTrip and redbus is easy peasy – I just did it for you, in fact. Most agents will boast having the best service or offering the most number of routes you can take, but at the end of the day, hopping on to one bus is not all that different from hopping onto another so make sure you grab anaffordable deal with redBus for instance.

Bus- An Indian mode of transport
A State transport bus in India

Buses are crowded, hot and chaotic, but that fits right in to the general climate in India anyway. This is how you can really dive into getting to know the culture. Knowing when to choose a bus over a train also depends on where you plan on going. In most cases, a combination of train and bus is needed. Trains will take you to all major cities and boarders, but you can’t count on a train to take you high up into the mountains. The same rules apply though. Bookings are only possible with some agents and only done in advance. If you plan on taking a bus on the go then you’ll just have to race to your seat!

Boat / Ferry:

Why not visit Port Blair in the Andaman Islands by ferry? Most ferries happen to stop there so it’s an opportunity worth taking for some historic sightseeing. Just be sure to avoid this way of travel during the monsoons unless you’re a fan of getting wet and staying that way for hours.

Ferry - An Indian public mode of transportation
A ferry packed with people, on its way.

Cab:


Believe it or not, but contrary to logic, hiring a private cabby can be quite cheap if you’re travelling with a large group of people. This is also preferred over renting a car yourself because you will probably waste a lot of time and money on gas just figuring out the streets and getting around traffic. The reason we opt for public transportation is always because we know that at least the drivers know where they’re going! Nevertheless, if a car is how you want to do it then do make sure that you have an international driving permit if you’re willing to drive yourself. It’s a lot easier to hire a car from within a major city like Delhi. Buckle up and enjoy the ride!

------------------------------ * ------------------------------

What are your favorite modes of transport while travelling?
Do share your experiences in the comments section below!

------------------------------ * ------------------------------

About the author: Joanna Jaoudie is a content editor from flipit.com, a site dedicated to helping travelers travel cheaply within India using travel related deals and discounts.



Would you like to share this article with your friends?

26 comments:

  1. Looking at that last picture reminds me of the water transport that was earlier prevalent in Kerala. 70% was water transport and the rest was land transport. Now it has been reversed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's really sad if those percentages are true. But I am glad that boats still remain one of the most important modes of transport in the state.

      Delete
  2. Hi Arti. Did you repost this from another site? Who is Joanna Jaoudie?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No Sallie, it's not a repost. It's kind of a sponsored post, written by Joanna Jaoudie, as a guest.

      Delete
  3. Hi Arti,

    Great to see some of the ways to travel in India - thanks for sharing.
    I love trains - don't think I would like to be riding up on the roof though and it is nice to travel on the water in a ferry.
    Enjoy the week
    hugs
    Carolyn

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great, enjoyable and very useful post, dear Arti. Thanks a million again for your guest post: Y for Yatra day today:-) Yay! Big hugs . http://expatliv.blogspot.in/2014/04/y-for-yatra.html

    ReplyDelete
  5. hmm.. though no of options under public transport is increasing day by day.. its overcrowded status continues.Im sure many foreigners would be scared seeing the 1st pic, but thats the fact

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is so true, Smitha. Overcrowding is a major problem and hence to avoid the hassle, its always recommended to book tickets in advance.

      Delete
  6. good informative post.
    What are your best choices Arti.......ji.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Long time, Rakeshji.. good to hear from you. :)

      Ah, it would be really hard for me to pick out one from among all these modes. That's one reason I never replied! ;) Thanks for asking though. Each has its own charm and I have loved watching out from the window of my train as much as I have loved listening to the lapping of the waters while travelling in a boat. And buses always remind me of the south, they have one of the best running state transport bus network in their states!

      Delete
  7. I cannot even imagine driving myself around in India, Arti! But, I wouldn't want to get on the roof of a train either. I use cabs in major cities or the rail systems. (I like walking, too.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On a normal day, the trains wouldn't look 'that' crowded, Barb so I think you can still enjoy the experience. And, I love walking too.

      Delete
  8. Traveling in India is still a full fledged experience in itself, be it local trains of Mumbai or the Trams of Kolkata or traveling across country. You have to be in India to know about the various options.. Good informative post for the first time visitors to India.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. The diversity that our country offers reflects in these modes as well.

      Delete
  9. I have never been to India, but it reminds me a lot of Sri Lanka. The train stations were overloaded with locals and we could barely moved on trains and buses.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds pretty similar, Agness. Train rides in India are an experience in itself and especially the unreserved coaches and compartments can give a really hard time by getting insanely crowded on any given day!

      Delete
  10. My goodness, such bravery. Travelling by train like this looks exhilarating but not for the faint hearted.

    Giving my mobility problems getting around can become a major issue and because of this we often opt to use cabs. Fantastic when we travelled in Turkey we hired a cab for the duration and the driver was tremendous. Taking us to some wonderful places not commonly visited by tourists, he knew all of the places to eat and where the best photo opportunities were to be had, he made our holiday extra special.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You make a great point, Tracy. Thanks for sharing your story, this reminds me of my trip to the Char Dham Yatra, our driver was so efficient and good natured that he ensured that the trip would ever remain memorable for us.

      Delete
  11. Thanks for informative post. I'm planning to visit India soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks to Joanna, I am sure her article will help a lot of people.

      Delete
    2. I'm happy to see that it's picked up interest and glad to know that you guys have found it useful information -- that was my intention! :)

      Delete
  12. I can't forget my experience with public transport while travel in india. From 21 hour inside the train without stop by Duronto Express train and lost with the rickshaw in the middle of night because the drunken driver.

    I think for women need to more aware about the security problem of public transport in india. For me use a cab or rent a car is best option if you travel alone :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Αγαπημένη μου Άρτι
    Σ΄ευχαριστώ πάρα πολύ για τις πολύτιμες οδηγίες για την πανέμορφη και ενδιαφέρουσα πατρίδα σου!
    Χαίρομαι πολύ που ταξιδεύεις και σου εύχομαι να γυρίσεις όλο τον κόσμο!
    Μου αρέσουν όλα τα μέσα συγκοινωνίας, ανάλογα με το κράτος. 'Οταν ήμασταν νέοι, ταξιδεύαμε στην Ευρώπη με το αυτοκίνητο μας.
    Τώρα με αεροπλάνο και μετά , με τρένα και λεωφορεία.
    Σου στέλνω την αγάπη μου και πολλά φιλιά!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I agree. Travelling by buses and trains provides wonderful opportunities to get to know the culture and the people.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I think Arti another positive in travel these days in India is the large number of express ways / highways getting constructed which have made our journey time shorter each day :)

    ReplyDelete

Delighted u stopped by... Your suggestions, feedback are really appreciated. Thanks a lot! Hope you visit again!

If you have asked a question, please give me at least 2 days to reply back. Thank you :)

Blogger Widgets