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Taxis Made in India
India in general, and Mumbai in particular, are seemingly unaffected by the American, European, and Japanese output of cars. India produces its own eccentric brand of cars, including the Ambassador, which appear to have the peculiar engineering stamp of British colonial production. Like most British cars, the design and quality of these cars are less than acceptable by world standards, and so as far as I know, none are exported from India. The Mumbai taxis are these quaint vehicles which are quite reasonable in price to hire, even if short on leg room, seat comfort, ceiling height, and window space. From our experience though, driver courtesy is as good as it gets anywhere in the world.
Update: Recently a resident Indian informed me that India now imports a wider variety of automobiles, and so this market is less insular than it was during my travels in 1997.
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Taxis on Demand
Updated 2/12: I'm not quite convinced that Mumbai has the hang of this taxi on call thing. We used Meru and not only could the driver not find where to pick us up but he took a "short cut" to the airport and we ended up missing our flight. Also - these taxis are more expensive than the black taxis off the street. If you do find a taxi driver that you like, take his cell number and call him first if you need a taxi. It's a good option.
Other than pre-paid taxi service from the city's 2 airports, taxi on demand is a fairly new concept. You can now call in advance or book online for a taxi pickup. Check each company's websites as some may require an advance booking of as much as 24 hours.
Once you book, keep the company's number handy in case you need to call them while waiting for the taxi. With Mumbai's traffic it's important to allow extra time to reach your destination, especially when going to the airport. Also if you have alot of luggage, be sure to inquire what type of car will be sent; unless otherwise requested you'll get a small car. Large cars/SUVs such as Innovas are available for large groups or those with alot of luggage.
The three companies I have used are: Cool Cab (usually smaller cars with A/C) - http://www.citycoolcab.in/, Meru is another company - http://www.merucabs.com/ and Star Taxi - http://www.startaxi.in/. We have used these companies for trips to the airport as well as local destinations.
It's a good idea to call and confirm your pickup a couple of hours before the scheduled time.
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Taxi from the airport
I booked a prepaid taxi from the airport to the hotel in Fort area. There is one booth for prepaid taxis just as you enter the arrival hall (at this one you can also book the taxi from the outside of the building) and one by the exit.
The woman at the counter told me it was 400 rupees to my destination and I paid. Not until I left the building did I notice that it stood 370 rupees on the recite (an that included the bags and service as well). And I who thought this was a safe way to pay without being tricked to pay too much.
I took a black and yellow taxi without air condition. A blue and white taxi with air condition would have cost about 100 rupees more. And as I don't like A/C it was not a difficult decision. There were loads of taxis driving around, but I had to wait for the one with the correct number.
How long it takes to Fort/Colaba depends on the time of the day and traffic. The taxi driver drove to Colaba first instead of Fort and wanted more money for that, but I had given the right direction and knew nothing more was going to be paid.
Taxis in Mumbai
Taxis in Mumbai are inexpensive if you compare to other countries. But they are not as cheap as the motorcycle rickshaws. Make sure to agree on the price before entering the taxi.
You can also hire a car for a day or a city tour at a fixed price. F.ex. Half day city tour from Juhu to Gateway of India and around was 1200 rupies. I bargained down to 1000 rupies.
black n yellow, blue n white
Blue & white taxis have air con. NB This does not mean to say the people in the rear of the car are going to benefit from it. Air conditioned cabs always cost more.
The yellow and black cabs do not have air conditioning but there is nothing wrong with the old fashioned way of winding the window down!!!
ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS agree the price before entering into the agreement.
Do NOT let them bump you into "good places to shop". It is good for them - they get 100INR just for showing up with you... but it is a pain in the backside unless you (a) have a genuine interest and/or (b) are feeling particularly generous with your time.
ALWAYS insist on being taken to where you WANTED to go and not to where they suggest (unless of course their suggestion is genuinely making a lot more sense).
Do NOT always be quick to believe what your cab driver is telling you EG I asked to go to the Gateway of India because I was taking a trip to Elephanta Island. My cab driver (at 1000hrs) told me I was too late for the ferries but he could take me around and show me the sights! After a heated discussion he decided he actually meant he thought it was going to be too hot for me!
If taking a cab to/from the airport you can use the toll bridge. It costs 50 INR one way and you have to pay - if y ou hand over more than 50INR check your change... some drivers will buy themselves a return on your behalf. Ok, we are talking about an extra 25INR but you may want to take that into account with the tip you hand over at the end!
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Timing btwn city and MUMBAI AIRPORT
NOTE FOR TRAVELLING BETWEEN CITY AND MUMBAI AIRPORT
From airport to south Mumbai - It took about 1.5-2 hours by blue air-con taxi during midday when I arrived Mumbai without any rain. When I left from city to airport, the monsoon rain arrived heavily. Gladly I decided to leave for airport 5.5 hours before the flight time and I ended up spending 3 hours on the congested road with flooded water on the streets. The local taxi driver I got was so good to negoitate and struggle with heavy traffic for me and fight for every inch of space to advance in order to bring me to the airport. We encountered flooded road that he had to make U turn and took another road. Along the way, I saw many local taxi broke down due to flooding and heavy rain. I was praying that it would not happen to my taxi!!!
The congestion occurred all the way even to the moment that I got off right in front of the airport terminal. It was raining and I got wet all over the body (when I hailed for taxi) and sat in the taxi for 3 good hours. To apprevciate his effort, I gave him extra fare that he deserved it. My passport got wet for about 20% (gladly it is dry now when I write this message). This was the experience that I have never had after travelling to 65 countries to-date and for sure I will not forget. What an experience!
Taxi between Airport and South Mumbai
From Mumbai international airpot, it costs Rs,480 to Mariman point in south Mumbai, although the receipt shows Rs430. (Jun 2009) Where does the Rs,50 go?? This is India, remember!!!!!
The price is for aircon blue taxi. The journey takes at least 1.5 hours or more, depending the timing of the day and traffic and road flood condition. See more pics for the counter and taxi.
From city to airport, ensure you calculate the traffic condition and if it rains, the road will flood and traffic is even worse. My return journey from South Mumbai to airport took 3 hours!!! Gladly I planned to go to airport 5.5 hours before my flight. Taxi fares usually costs more for blue taxi (up to Rs.800). I took a local taxi (black and yellow) for Rs350 and was inside the taxi for 3 hours due to traffic congestion, road floods and heavy rain in monsoon (Jun 2009).
You also have to take note at the airport, it is a bit crowded because only the passengers are allowed to enter the terminal, meaning all these people are standing outside the passengers drop off areas, creating lots of human congestion.
Also inisde the airport there are many long queue. So planning 5.5-6 hours before flight time is good. Amazing!
reliable taxi service in Mumbai
Next time you are in mumbai, the most reliable taxi service at present is Meru (full green) cabs +91 22 4422 4422 or Megacabs (full black) +91 22 4242 4242. these are professional taxi service available round the clock at the airport.
dont get into any other cab service since they try to cheat you, including me, even if im from the same city.
also dont forget to ask for a bill/receipt of the fare in the end. if the taxi driver doesnt give you, you can call the taxi company and complain.
you can also try to call the company if you are in within india for a cab at a perticular time. but most of the time, during peak hours the cabs are booked, especially during saturday night.
but at the airport you can find these cabs.
dont get into the cool cabs which are light blue and grey in colour since their taxi meter is modified to charge you more.
they are also available in most cities these days. check their website for more info
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Fix a price/fare
The black and yellow taxis which never stops horning is most probably the easiest way to get around in Mumbai.
In the Colaba - Marine Drive - Crawford Market area you should not pay much more than
Rs50 - 60 per trip.
It is best to name your destination and fix a price before getting in.
I did not find many taxi drivers who were verey bad, and hardly ever had to bargain too much.
From the airport
Do make use of the pre-paid taxi service available at the airport.
As you come out of the arrivals area, you wil find the office on the righthand side.
I arrived at 00h20 and it was no problem.
I paid Rs450 from the airport to Marine Drive (Dec 2007).
It is a bit more expensive (Rs50 extra) for a A/C taxi.
The best Mumbai transport
Mumbai is a big and crowded the city and distances are big. There are public transport systems like any metropolitan city such as local train servces and buses. However both these transport systems would not be recomendable for a tourist a as they are extremely crowded and its not easy to get information or maps on how to use them correctly. The best or rather the most convenient transport system is getting around by TAXI - they are not expensive, the drivers normally do not bargain and are easily available.
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bombay airport with direct...
bombay airport with direct planes to everywhere in the world and everywhere in india;
warning!who has seen the french movie:nocturne indien?it happens all the time,you ask a taxi-driver to go to such place;then ,the driver will go to another place where he will get a commission if you buy souvenirs,clothes,eat in a restaurant,or sleep in a hotel where one of his friend is the manager
My first surprise when I landed in Mumbai were the taxi's. Elsewhere in India, all taxi's tend to be Hindustan Ambassador's, (based on the old British Morris Oxford from the late 1940's), but in Mumbai (for some reason), they use old Premier Padmini's which are based on a Fiat 1100 from the 1950's. I took one from the domestic airport to my hotel in Colaba for Rs350 - bargain the price down. Calculating the fare is normally done by matching the meter reading with a tariff card to arrive at the final payable fare. The minimum fare is Rs13. Prepaid plans have the fare collected at the start and thus the meter reading is not applicable. Night charges apply from midnight to 5 a.m. when the fare is marked up by 25%. I took a few taxi's around the city, as auto-rickshaw's aren't allowed in the area, and they were reasonable priced and the best way of getting around. Sample fares I took are from my hotel on Colaba Causeway Rd (near Sassoon Dock) to Chowpatty Beach (Rs70), Walkeshwar Mandir to Haji Ali's Mosque (Rs50) and then taxi from the mosque back to my hotel (Rs90). A taxi from my hotel back to the domestic airport cost me Rs300. Allow plenty of time to get to/from the airport as it's some way out from the city centre and traffic can also be a problem.
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