Public transport in Mumbai

Public transport in Mumbai

Public Transport in Mumbai involves the transport of millions of its citizens by train, road and water. Over 88% [ [ Mumbai Urban Transport Project] ] of the commuters in Mumbai prefer to use public transport (suburban trains or buses) since it is most convenient, efficient and cheap. Commuters usually cannot use their own vehicles because of congested roads. Mumbai has the best and safest 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, and there have been more than 20,000 deaths in the last five years [] .

Mumbai's public transport primarily comprises:
* Public Bus Service (BEST):
** This system is run by a government organization Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport, the "B" formerly standing for "Bombay". It has a fleet of red single and double-decker buses. There are air conditioned and low floor buses as well.

* Suburban Electric Trains: Local Railway Lines
** Western Railway, running between Churchgate and Virar.
** Central Railway, running between Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Formerly known as Victoria Terminus [V.T.] ) and Karjat and Kasara.
** Harbour Line, running between Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Formerly known as Victoria Terminus [V.T.] ) and Panvel. A new line has extended the Harbour Line from Panvel to Karjat.

* 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.

The History of Mumbai's Public Transport

"Further information: Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport"

Before 1920

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 Afgan 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.

Post 1940

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 2.38 lakh passengers per day. At present, there are 3380 buses carrying 45 lakh passengers daily on 335 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] .

Some interesting facts of present-day BEST
* 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 has 230+ environment friendly CNG (compressed natural gas) buses on its fleet and is planning to increase these 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.
* In view of 7/11 bombings, BEST is planning to install an audio-visual surveillance system on each of its buses by December 2006 to monitor suspicious behaviour aboard its vehicles.

Railway Network

The Mumbai Suburban Railway is the oldest in Asia, it was founded in 1847. It is owned by Indian Railways and is operated by Western Railways and Central Railways. With a length of 303 km, it claims to have the highest passenger density in the world, 6.1 million people daily. 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 onwards 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 year 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.



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 mechnical meter decides the fare and is proportional to the distance traveled.

Number of taxis (cabs): About 55,000-52,000.

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 three companies: Meru (Green Silver), Gold cabs (Yellow Red) and Mega cabs (Black). However these taxis need to be booked in advance by calling their callcentre number.

Recetly the police revealed that it is required by law that the driver of an unengaged taxi take you to where you want to go, distance and time regardless. If the driver does not comply, one simply needs to call the police (dial 100) 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.

External links

* [ -:- Taxi Fare List (Printable):-]
* [ CENTRAL Railway local Train Timetable]
* [ WESTERN Railway local Train Timetable]
* [ HARBOUR Railway local Train Timetable]

Auto rickshaws

Auto Rickshaws are three-wheeler scooters, which can accommodate three people. Apart from Buses, Trains and Taxis, Auto rickshaws play an important role of public transport in Mumbai. As per the new ruling of the Bombay High Court, all auto rickshaws use CNG as the fuel. Auto rickshaws are not permitted to enter the suburbs beyond Sion and Bandra in South 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 catch another rickshaw. In the western suburbs they are allowed to ply between Bandra and Bhayandar only.

Recetly the police revealed that it is required by law that the driver of an unengaged taxi take you to where you want to go, distance and time regardless. If the driver does not comply, one simply needs to call the police (dial 100) 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.

A mechanical meter decides the fare and is proportional to distance travelled.

External links

* [ -:-'Auto Fare List (printable)'-:-]

Terror attacks

There have been 13 terror attacks on Mumbai's public transportation including 2 serial blasts killing around 274 people.

* 6 December 2002 - Bomb goes off in a bus in Ghatkopar killing 2
* 27 January 2003 - Bomb goes off on a bicycle in Vile Parle killing 1
* 14 March 2003 - Bomb goes off in a train in Mulund killing 10
* 28 July 2003 - Bomb goes off in a bus in Ghatkopar killing 4
* 25 August 2003 - Two Bombs go off in cars near the Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar killing 50
* 11 July 2006 - Series of seven bombs go off in trains killing 207

ee also

Timeline of Mumbai events


External links

* [ Indian Railway Article on Mumbai Local Trains]
* [ Indian Railway FAQ]
* [ BEST Undertaking Information]

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