In suburban areas of Bombay you can take a rickshaw to get around (local speak: rickshah). These are the little black and yellow 3-wheel motor-scooter devils that have a driver in the front and room for up to 3 passengers in the back. Ash grew up with these things, so it was nothing to him. For me however, it was a completely different experience. There is only one way to describe it: SCARY!
The driving is seemingly erratic; there are no apparent rules or regulations (but thats with most vehicles in bombay); traffic-lights, lanes, or signals are ignored; and no 3 seconds go by without the driver honking the horn. If you've driven ANY vehicle in the past, this is an absolute nightmare - you sit in the back of the rick, and your right foot continuously pushes an invisible break pedal to the floor. If you have a heart-condition, I'd recommend taking some sort of sedative before getting into one of these things.
After a couple of days (and numerous grey hairs later), I sort of got comfortable with the ride and let go of the notion of having any control. I guess you just rely on the driver and trust that they know what they are doing. Look at it kind of like a speed ride in Disneyland - it's scary, but you should be safe for most of it.
Well, like I said ... for most of it!!
On the last day of our visit we actually got into a rickshaw accident - a motorcycle hit us. It wasn't really the rickshaw driver's fault, but what we learned is that though ricks don't go very fast, they have a tendency to topple over when its breaks are jammed hard ... we got away with a few scratches and bruises and more info for another VT-tip ... :-D
During any of the many rickshaw strikes, roads are virtually barren since ricks seem to be major road hoggers. Another thing you might notice are the social messages at the back of every auto ..'Woman empowerment', etc. Rickshaws are cheaper than taxis, starting at 9 Rupees (~20 cents).
Rickshaws are not permitted inside Mumbai City centre. Outside the perimeter there are millions. They are by far the quicklest and the cheapest way to get around. Some are well driven and some are not for the faint hearted... if you have the unexpected "pleasure" to be driven by RajuSchumacher my thoughts are with you!!!!!!
Learn the rates as quickly as possible or you will be well and truly taken for a (financial) ride!
The cheapest way is to make them use the meter.
ALWAYS agree the price or the meter before you climb in.
ALWAYS make sure (to the best of your ability) the driver knows where you want to go otherwise you could drive around for a while and get the old "it wasn't clear where you wanted to go and it has taken much longer therefore the price should reflect this"
Oh and if he says he can fit you ALL in AND ALL of your luggage too... do not doubt him... just doubt how comfortable the ride will be :-D
The Auto Rickshaws (elsewhere known as Tuk Tuks or Bajaj’s) are the main form of transport in the suburbs. These are the little three-wheeled vehicles which will comfortably take 2-3 passengers but can often seen to be cramming in a lot more. A lot of the Auto Rickshaws use CNG and like the taxi’s, they have a meter. While a little hair-raising at times, they are a cheap mode of transport to get around in but not if you have a bad back or the like, their suspensions are dreadful.
Bicycle Rickshaws have been popular from the early part of last century but are not so common in the city areas these days having been taken over by the auto rickshaw. You will however see not the variety that transports passengers but these varieties which really just gets the owner around. The pedal is operated higher up by hand.
Travelling around the city in the little auto rickshaws was lovely; even on the hottest days we were there, when there seemed to be no breeze, we felt cooler using these three wheeled open sided vehicles than in a taxi and only as most of them showed us the price they were asking on what looked like a tariff conversion chart, comparing it to their meter, I think they were charging us fairly. A friend who lives in the city had told us to ask to check this card if the price seemed unexpectedly high. It was never difficult to find one and the drivers regularly called out to us to indicate their availability for hire, when they saw us on the street.
Many of the drivers seemed to lavish the utmost care on adorning and furnishing their little vehicles; we saw rugs, cushions and curtains lining many of them and most seemed to travelling be under the protection at least one image of a deity or religious leader, according to the selection of the driver, perhaps as a precaution against the dangers of city driving. One evening a driver even approached my friend and I with cries of “madam, madam, you want a disco rickshaw?” before flicking a switch to start up a lively tune on his cassette player, accompanied by a multi-coloured rotating lamp in the back window area! We had to take up his offer!
With the open sides, we quite often found that, as the vehicle stopped at a junction, someone would pop their head in and try to sell us something and on one occasion returning to our hotel at night, we had stopped for a while near to the Pizza Hut, an elephant's trunk curled round the side in a curious manner to investigate its contents! Fortunately the rest of the elephant decided not to follow!
My most favorite mode of transport in Mumbai was/is Auto Rickshaw. I was residing in Hyatt Regency (Sahar Airport Road, Andheri East) and near the gate there is an auto rickshaw stand. From there I hired an Auto for Mumbai tour. The auto driver was very polite and just charged 400 Rs (INR) for a 4 hrs ride plus he waited near a restaurant called Mahesh, where I had my lunch. Normally they charge for waiting too.
Since 2002, all auto rickshaws have been required to use CNG as fuel. Auto rickshaws registered in Mumbai are not allowed travel beyond the municipal limits. The driver told me "Madam, we are not allowed to go beyond the Bandra–Worli Sea Link!".
In India, the term rickshaw usually refers to a cycle rickshaws, though their number is decreasing. In cities where both rickshaws and auto rickshaws are present, the term auto is often used to refer to the auto rickshaw to avoid confusion.
But Now The Auto Rikshaw Are Mostly Used it's Economic & Safe for minor Route. After Bandra You can take Over the Rickshaw. Because South Mumbai Don't Allow The Rikshaw.Only Taxi Are Allow in All Over Mumbai
Motorcycle rickshaws (Tuk-Tuk's) in Mumbai are not allowed to travel south of the Bandra area. I asked a taxi driver about the reason, and got the answer they were too slow on the hills of South-Mumbai. But there are no hills in Mumbai. The reason must be politics and lobby works from anxious taxi drivers who fight for the customers. Motorcycle rickshaw is cheaper than a taxi. You pay 50-100 rupies for a trip.
(Bandra district of Mumbai is just north of Mahim Bay. So you have to travel a long way with car if you are going to f.ex the Gateway of India).
Autorikshaw is most convenient way for traveling in mumbai. Limits for autorikshaw is upto bandra in western region and upto sion in central region. Basic fare for auto is 9.00 rs and there after 1.00 re per meter. Capacity of autorikshaw is three persons. If you dont know the way they will give you a good lengthy ride which will cost you double the orginal meter.
The most appropriate way to travel in that large and crowdy city. The solution is
- fast (the vehicule can nip in and out of the traffic);
- low cost (something like 0.5 EUR for 5 km in Mumbai);
- energy conservative (rickshaw would need 1 liter of petrol for 35 km).
The major disadvantages is the limited and possibly unsafe place for luggage and the direct contact with the population at stops (beggars).
A rickshaw ride is quite an experience. There is no door and no seatbelt. The speed is limited to 50 km/h, but even at 30 km/h, any hole or break is felt as a surprise. Drivers seem crazy but are very concentrated (we saw no accident).
The price can be discussed before. In Mumbai, they have a meter and a table (established by the governement) to convert km into prices. As often, some drivers will ask you more that what is due, especially if your destination is a luxury hotel. But in the case your driver looks for his way and do not know the best one, you will be asked anyway to pay the amount marked at the meter. It happened to us and our hotel manager told us ther was no way for a discount due to the driver's errors. We have not tried to know who is right.
I absolutely loved taking rickshaw rides, they are so cheap and fast and the fact that they don't have any doors makes getting in and out of it a lot quicker. Mind that you don't fall out though, if you're not very fast on your feet, elderly or young, ensure that the driver stops at a safe place to allow you to get down safely. Mumbai traffic can be very hellraising at times, they literally drive with the horn, so will be very noisy. Keep all limbs well inside the vehichle at all times and hold on to your valuables ( easy for someone to sneak up on a motorbike and grab your camera). Then sit back and enjoy the ride, you get to have a good sightsee from all angles.
We had many 15min rides to the town centre that didnt cost us more than 20 rupees a go!
The Auto rickshaw can me menacing to outsiders. On our very first day, we took a ride in it. It was quite an adventure. Forget about the confusing meters. The ride itself will exhilirate you.
It was so fun that we took a longer ride a few days later. Zig-zagging across the often confusing roads of Mumbai, the skillful Auto drivers traverses with such skills.
A must for all Mumbai visitors.
Get a map and find the nearest train station or use an auto-rickshaw for short distance areas. Taxis are also good just make sure the meter is working.