By Anuriti Sarkar
Though Ola and Uber have taken over the taxis, they can’t compete with the Mumbai local in Mumbai. It’s been the lifeline of Mumbaikars since it was started in 1853, making it the oldest railway network in Asia. The most efficient way to travel in Mumbai and pocket friendly too!
If you’re in Mumbai and haven’t travelled in local train ever (like really?) then either you’re too dumb or you’re way too rich and have all the time in the world.
Mumbai being one of the busiest cities, the traffic is slower than a flock of sheep. Sometimes you may be stuck for hours on the roads waiting for your car to move. It’ll already be one hour and you will have just moved say, 3 golgappa vendors (you should try them)!
And if you get an Ola during these peak hours, get ready to empty your wallet and sell your family heirloom too (especially if you live in Navi Mumbai). Also, when you are travelling alone at night, taking a cab or auto won’t be the safest way.
If there weren’t any alternative for this, our life surely would have been disastrous. But, we have our very own superman to the rescue, the fastest, cheapest and safest way to travel in Mumbai – ‘the local trains’. You can always rely on this, at any hour of the day (except from 1:30 – 4:00am).
There are trains coming and going in every five minutes. Even if you miss one, you can get on the next one within a few minutes. Each and every place has a local station, even the smallest of the areas. You really won’t find any trouble locating the platforms.
There are mainly three lines, the western, central and the harbour line. Here’s a pro tip, if you’re travelling by Mumbai local for the first time, try downloading this app – m-indicator. It has all the routes and maps for the local lines.
Also you can easily search which train will go where and at what time. All information will be given to you at an instant. AND, you don’t require internet for this!
Oh and not to forget, the ladies coach! Now all the ladies, you can feel safe and be safe while your journey. What can be better than this? Well there’s one thing, the first class dabba, both for general and for the ladies.
The second class is always over crowded during the peak time and sometimes you may not have place to even breathe. So you might want to choose a hassle free and comfortable journey with a place to sit. But yes, you will have to pay a little more than the usual ticket fare for this one.
There are also special compartments for the handicapped and cancer patients, and luggage compartments too in case you have a lot of luggage.
One of the drawbacks of locals would be the rush. It may happen that your train has just arrived and you’re standing in front of the door, you wouldn’t even need to move your feet, there’ll be so much crowd that you’ll be swept in. Yes, that’s the amount of rush in Mumbai locals.
But that’s just during the peak hours. And the other being the Sunday mega block, which starts from 10am and ends at 4pm. But apart from that it’s the most significant way to travel in Mumbai.
So you might think that this hour long journey in a local train, everyday might get monotonous. But worry not, because you will have a pack of full entertainment with you. You can catch up on the latest movies and soap operas on your phone.
And if you’re bored of that, you can find a live one in the ladies compartment i.e. if you’re lucky and you know a bit of Marathi. You can also go on a shopping spree! Surprised? Well the Mumbai local is known for its illegal sale of every item on this planet.
From food and accessories to candies and electronics, anything and everything you can imagine, at less than half the price. And on some days you may also get a chance to catch glimpses of cute high school romance.
If you’re still bored, plug in your earphones and relax, or observe the people around you, to your surprise, you may get to learn a lot of things.
The local trains are the core essence of the city. You may not love it every day but when you move to another place, Mumbai local is the first thing you’d miss!
But if you’re in Delhi…. lol.
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