Welcome to Mumbai. Please hit the ground running.
Like an overzealous Alexander heading inevitably toward disaster, Mumbai has expanded its boundaries at breakneck speed in the past two decades (though, thanks to its insane density, its urban footprint remains small compared to similarly populous metropolises). The infrastructure wheezes behind as it tries to keep up.
Thankfully, Mumbai’s famed spirit of ingenuity provides the harried commuter a whole host of small metal compartments to transport her from point A to point B: kaali-peeli (black and yellow) taxis, BEST buses, or 3-wheeler rickshaws, which weave ingeniously through suburban traffic (they’re not welcome in South Mumbai) thanks to their ergonomic design and fearless spirit. But the fastest—and, naturally, most congested—form of transit is the local train system.
Conceived initially by the marauding British, the Mumbai train system has 3 lines running through the heart, soul, and underbelly of India’s greatest city. Today, the Mumbai railways ferry an unbelievable 7.5 million people each day, from the northernmost exurbs, down through the gauntlet of the inner suburbs, and all the way to its pincer-shaped historic tip.