Most of Mumbai’s inhabitants rely on public transport to travel to and from their workplace due to the lack of car parking spaces, traffic bottlenecks, and generally poor road conditions.
The city is the headquarters of two rail divisions – the Central Railway (CR) (headquartered at Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly known as Victoria Terminus)), and the Western Railway (WR) (headquartered at Churchgate).
The backbone of the city’s transport, the Mumbai Suburban Railway, is composed of three seperate networks running the length of the city, in a north-south direction. The Western Railway runs along the western region of the city, while the Central Railway covers most of the central and northeast parts of the metropolis.
Both lines extend into the exurbia, each covering a total one-way length of around 125 km. The Harbour Line is a sub-division of the Central Railway, covering a distance of 54 km along the south-eastern section of the city, near the docks, and extending into Navi Mumbai. Mumbai is well connected by trains to all parts of India.
Public buses run by the BEST (an autonomous body under the BMC) cover almost all parts of the metropolis, as well as parts of Navi Mumbai and Thane district. Buses are used for commuting short to medium distances, while train fares are more economical for long distance commutes. The BEST fleet consists of single-decker, double-decker, air-conditioned and vestibule buses. The BEST also operates ferries across creeks in northern Mumbai.
Black and yellow or Blue and Silver (Air-conditioned) metered taxis, accommodating up to four passengers, cover most of the metropolis. These are the official taxi service in Mumbai. In addition there are radio cab operators including TabCab, MeruCabs, EasyCabs, MegaCabs and recently aggregators like Ola & Uber service Mumbai.
Auto rickshaws, allowed to operate only in the suburban areas, are the main form of hired transport there. These three-wheeled vehicles can accommodate up to three passengers. Autos are the main form of transport in the suburbs.
Mumbai Metro has recently been inaugurated. Metro Line 1 is now active and provides transportation between Versova – Andheri – Ghatkopar.
Mumbai’s Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport (formerly, Sahar International Airport) is the busiest airport in India, and caters to cargo and international flights while Santacruz Airport caters to domestic flights. The nearby Juhu aerodrome was India’s first airport, and now hosts a flying club and a heliport.
With its unique topography, Mumbai has one of the best natural harbours in the world, handling 50% of the country’s passenger traffic, and much of India’s cargo. It is also an important base for the Indian Navy. However, the only sea based public transport available are ferrys from Gateway of India to Elephanta Caves and to Alibaug.