By Air Mumbai is the main international gateway to India, with far more flights than Delhi, Kolkata or Madras. It also has the busiest network of domestic flights, including flights to Aurangabad near the Ellora and Ajanta caves. The international terminal (Sahar) and the domestic terminal (Santa Cruz) are 30km and 25km respectively from downtown Mumbai. There are regular shuttle buses between the two terminals. Mumbai (Chhatrapati Shivaji) International Airport (BOM) can be contacted by telephone on (22) 836 6700 or 8387046. Fax: (22) 615 6031 or get hold of them via their website on: www.mumbaiairport.com Major airlines that serve Mumbai are Air India telephone: (22) 202 4142; website: www.airindia.com which is the national carrier. Other international airlines that serve Mumbai include Air France, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Gulf Air amongst many others.
Airport facilities At terminals 1A and 1B, services include hotel reservation counters, bureaux de change and an ATM, first aid and medical facilities, tourist information, car hire (Europcar and Avis), shopping and bars. At 1B there is also a childcare room. There is a free coach transfer service between terminals. Both terminals have executive lounges, a conference room and a business centre. Terminal 1B also has a telecommunications centre.
Transport to the city from the airport Taxis are readily available at the airport to central or southern Mumbai should (journey time – 90 minutes, longer during the working day). There are also several prepaid 24-hour taxi services available in the arrival hall, telephone: (22) 8215585 or 8205110. There may be additional charges for baggage and/or night time taxi rides. There are also public transport buses from the airport however, taxis are the most reliable, easy and comfortable way for visitors to get to the city centre.
Approximate flight times to Mumbai From London is 9 hours; from New York is 16 hours; from Los Angeles is 21 hours and 30 minutes; from Sydney is 12 hours and 45 minutes; from Toronto is 16 hours; from Tokyo 12 hours and from Singapore 8 hours 30 minutes. Within India, from Delhi is 2 hours; from Bangalore is 1 hour 30 minutes, from Chennai (Madras) is 1 hour 50 minutes and from Calcutta 2 hours 20 minutes.
By Bus Mumbai has one of the best public bus systems of any major Indian city. However, its red double-decker buses are gradually being crippled by the city’s unbelievable traffic congestion. Long-distance buses depart from the state road transport terminal opposite Mumbai’s Central railway station. It’s fairly chaotic, and there are almost no signs or information available in English. The state bus companies of Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh all have offices here. There are also regular shuttle buses between the two air terminals.
There are a large number of bus routes run by Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport – BEST telephone: (22) 4143611, for 24-hour enquiries; website: www.bestundertaking.com which provides transport within the city and suburbs. The buses are extremely cheap but it is difficult to determine where the buses go, since the route maps (available at newspaper stands) are virtually indecipherable. They are often very crowded and seats hard to come by. Some routes (Bus 1, 65, 66 and 202) operate a round-the-clock service. A small minority of the buses are fitted with air conditioning. (Telephone: (22) 8732888 for enquiries on air-conditioned buses). Tickets are best purchased from the conductor and although confessional fares are offered, no passes are currently available.
Coach Services The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation, telephone: (22) 369 6109/10 or 368 5910/6112; fax: (22) 368 4943; e-mail: email@example.com website: www.msrdc.org operates bus services from Mumbai to other towns and cities within the same and adjoining states. Destinations include Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Goa, Indore, Pune and Surat. The main terminal is located opposite Central Station, on Belalsis Road telephone: (22) 3074272.
By Train Western Railway, telephone: (22) 308 5555 and Central Railway, telephone: (22) 265 9512 are the two companies that operate rail services from Mumbai. A computerised enquiry system for arrivals and departure information is available, telephone: (22) 265 6565. Western Railway services depart from Mumbai Central Station, Boman Behram Road, while Central Railway services depart from the magnificent CST building (formerly Victoria Terminus), on Dr D Navroji Road, at corner of St George’s Road. Both stations offer basic facilities.
Rail services Trains travel frequently between Mumbai and Agra (1345km), Ahmedabad (490km), Aurangabad (375km), Bangalore (1210km), Kolkata (1960km), Chennai (1280km), Delhi (1385km), Kochi (1840km), Pune (190km) and Varanasi (1510km). There’s also an extensive system of suburban electric trains, but avoid rush hours when trains are so crowded that you have to start making your way towards the door at least three stops before you want to get off. Both stations are centrally located and taxis are readily available.
By Taxi Mumbai has a huge fleet of metered black-and-yellow taxis but, unlike most other Indian cities, no auto-rickshaws in the city centre. Taxis can be hailed on the street and drivers are reasonably knowledgeable of the geography of the city. All taxis have a meter – these are, however, out of date, so each driver carries a conversion table, with which to compute the correct fare. It is important to ensure that the meter is zeroed before starting the journey. Fares are generally inexpensive. Taxis can also be hired for the day. This is a good way for tourists to see the city. For those who prefer a higher degree of luxury, Cool Cabs, telephone: (22) 8246216 provides air-conditioned taxis, which can only be ordered by telephone. Note: Tipping etiquette in Mumbai’s taxis can be somewhat confusing for the tourist. Some drivers demand a tip quite openly, while others are content with the metered or negotiated fare. A 10% tip is generally acceptable.
By Sea The Port of Mumbai (website www.mumbaiporttrust.com ) is located in the in the south of the city. The harbour handles approximately one sixth of India‘s total sea-borne trade, with three docks in operation – the Indira, Prince’s and Victoria Docks – with passenger berths at Ferry Wharf and Gateway of India. The port authority is the Mumbai Port Trust and for more information on sailing times contact them on: (81) 1181047; fax: (22) 26 1011; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org website: www.mumbaiporttrust.com The Port of Mumbai operates is own railway, running between Ballard Pier and Wadala. This is linked to the Central and Western Railways at the Interchange Railway Yard at Wadala.
Ferry Services Ferries depart from the Ferry Wharf, near the Prince’s Dock, as well as the Gateway of India. There is a ferry route between Gateway of India and Mandwa as well as services to the Elephanta Caves and a Hovercraft service to Vashi, Navi Mumbai. Boats from the Ferry Wharf sail to Alibhag, Rewas and Mandwa. Frank Shipping Services, telephone: (22) 373 5562/64/70/49/90 or 3731893; fax: (022) 3733740 operates an overnight catamaran service from Ferry Wharf to Panaji, Goa. Most ferry services do not operate during the monsoon season. SKS Supercrafts telephone: (22) 7821736 operates services and provides further information.
By Road Driving in India can be extremely hazardous and is not recommended to tourists, especially considering that there is no speed limit for drivers of passenger cars. Motorcycles, taxis, trucks and buses are constrained to a certain velocity, depending on the vehicle type. The surfaces are often in poor condition, adherence to rules tends to be patchy and accidents are numerous.
Mumbai is an important junction on the National Highway network of India, which links it to all major towns and cities in the country. National Highways are numbered. Traffic drives on the left. Drivers must be over 18 years and foreigners require an International Driving Permit. The legal alcohol to blood ratio is 0.03%. Those intending to take their own car to India must obtain a carnet from one of the international motoring associations (such as RAC or AA) before entering the country. This document represents an undertaking that the car will not remain in India for more than six months. Most European motor insurance policies do not extend to India and motorists are advised to seek cover from an Indian insurer, as insurance is compulsory. The Federation of Indian Automobile Associations telephone: (22) 2041085 provides information.
Routes to the city National Highways 3, 4, 6, 8, 9 and 17 provide connecting routes between Mumbai and the rest of India. In particular, route 3 goes to Indore and Gwalior, 4 to Pune, and 8 to Ahmedabad and Delhi. Visitors should bear in mind that the distances in India are colossal. Pune is the nearest city, 170km away. Delhi, however, is 1460km and Calcutta 2836 km away. Flying is usually preferable to driving.
Limousine Hire Autoriders Rent-a-car, telephone: (22) 4961714 provides chauffeur-driven cars and offers a wide range of air-conditioned vehicles if you want to get around the city in real style.
Car Hire Drivers in India must be over 18 years, although many car hire companies will insist on a higher minimum age. To hire a car, drivers will need to present an International Driving Permit and insurance must be arranged at the time of hiring. Avis telephone: (22) 2857518; website: www.avis.com provides self-drive hire cars. Royal Cars, telephone: (22) 2832928; e-mail: email@example.com supplies mid-range cars and Europcar telephone: (22) 6452796; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org website: http://www.europcar.com provides chauffeur-driven hire cars.
Bicycle & Scooter Hire Scooters and bicycles are popular forms of transport on the crowded streets of Mumbai and there does not seem to be any requirement for cyclists to wear helmets. Scooters are available for short and long term buy back options on well maintained and reliable scooters, from Premjis, Lamington Road telephone: (22) 309 9313 or 2469 or 9417; fax: (22) 306 8844; e-mail: email@example.com website: www.premjis.com Rates on buy back scooters depend on the vehicle and the duration of the trip. There are also various places, usually small, which hire bicycles cheaply and visitors keen to do so should enquire at a garage.
Parking is a problem on Mumbai’s streets and an increase in underground parking lots, around such areas as Shivaji Park, Nare Park and Oval Maidan, have been proposed to accommodate shopping, offices and parking plazas. Many hotels provide indoor parking for their patrons.