Mumbai Public Transport Chaos | There is no reason to visit Mumbai (India), except you have business to wrap up or you are slightly crazy. Mumbai is comparable with a huge cancer infection. Although everybody knows this, still approx. 20 million people live and work there voluntarily. To get these fools to work and back home, the mega city relies on its heavily used Mumbai Public Transport system. 3500 people get killed by trains each year. Another 4000 get injured. But the trains need to keep rolling. We found a fascinating documentary produced by BBC (see further below in this blog post).
Traveling to Mumbai can be an incredible adventure for event tourists. Life in Mumbai has a truly cosmopolitan flair while retaining the full “Indian experience”. But transportation will become your biggest challenge. Considering the heavy congestion and the poor maintenance of Mumbai roads, it is not surprising that 80% of Mumbai residents take suburban trains, busses and taxis for getting around in this mega chaotic city. For India standards Mumbai has a comparatively good public transportation system.
However, with too many commuters relying on it, it certainly has its downsides. Mumbai commuter trains carry several million passengers every day. It can get insanely crowded, with passengers standing in open doors, dangling out of windows, and even traveling on the roof, so sharp elbows and strong nerves are essential. For western standards, public transport infrastructure in Mumbai is dismal, to say the least.
Some advice to anyone who isn’t used to the kind of crowds Mumbai locals see: You should be more worried about staying alive and having all your limbs in place during peak hours. Not being pick-pocketed would be nice too. But that’s not priority 1. For a tourist with luggage: it is impossible to negotiate the crowds.
Mumbai may be a great metropolitan city for some, but its hustle-bustle can get to you after a while. If you’re looking for an escape to recharge your batteries and rejuvenate your psyche: try Matheran. It is the closest hill station to Mumbai, with the added delight of not allowing any cars into town. This makes it almost essential that you take the scenic toy train up the hill. Matheran is a great place for a quiet break, particularly when the heat of summer is at its worst in Mumbai.
How to Get to Matheran
By Road: There are no vehicles allowed in Matheran, but you can drive most of the way there to Dasturi and park your car. From Dasturi you can walk, get a hand pulled rickshaw or even travel by horseback to Matheran.
By Train: Train is one of the best options to get to Matheran. Take a train from Mumbai to Neral, and then at Neral take the lovely toy train up the hill.
Where to stay? Booking.com lists 50 spots near Matheran – from freaking cheap to freaking expensive. You can get decent shelter for just US$40 per night at the Swagat Cottage. Or you stay top notch in the The Countryside Heaven for whooping US$1,000 per night.
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