One of the things I was most nervous about arriving in Mumbai was the public transportation, the trains especially. I read article after article about the crime on the trains and decided my first day I would just have to suck it up and it turned out great. Here are a few tips I hope will help:
- The trains run often, like every 2 minutes. With millions of people relying on transport they are extremely efficient.
- Sunday is a perfect day to figure out the train system, far less people – since the city is usually doing some maintenance on the trains.
- If there is a transvestite clapping her hands and tapping you on the face, it’s not a blessing she’s a nutcase.
- LADIES CAR! They are labelled. I felt very comfortable and had great conversations riding with the other women in the crowded train.
- If you are sitting down, do not make promises to give your seat to someone standing- when you get off they can fend for themselves. Every time people board, someone will ask what stop is yours.
- Make sure to give yourself several stops to get up and move towards the door.
- If you score a seat AND you get off at the right stop during rush hour you can conquer the world. Seriously, you are a master and such a triumphant feeling!
- Try to get to a high point in the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus during rush hour and observe the swells of people pouring into the trains and just like that the platforms are empty only to have the terminal fill again in a moment.
- If you head out a bit later in the morning you will hopefully come across the Dabbawalahs that are delivering hot home cooked lunches from wives and mothers to their husbands and sons. Nothing beats home cooking.