Life is easier in Bangalore if you have a car. The city’s public transport system hasn’t kept up with its growth or ambitions to become a global hi-tech powerhouse. The first phase of the new overhead rapid transit rail system, formally and affectionately named “Namma Metro” (Our Metro), has been welcomed by Bangaloreans who are tired of traffic jams and of haggling with auto-rickshaw drivers.
Here are some tips for travel in Bangalore:
Carry cash for your commute. There are plans for a Smart Card in the future but for now all auto (short for auto-rickshaw), bus and train tickets have to be paid for in cash (no credit/debit cards) upfront at the time of travel.
Before taking an auto ride, ask a reliable source for a rough estimate of how much you should pay from point A to point B. Negotiating with auto drivers before you start your journey is part of everyday life.
It is illegal for an auto driver to ask for a fare above the meter. Some even have faulty meters. You can register a complaint or avoid hassles by calling an auto through EasyAuto.
If you’re driving, know where the one-way streets are and where they’ll take you. Be aware that a one-way street last week may run in the reverse direction this week. Give yourself some extra time to navigate Bangalore’s roads. Get direction updates while driving with LatLong.
Google maps will only get you so far in Bangalore. Ask for an address, complete directions, and landmarks before you set out for a new destination. You might want to think about parking before you leave as well.
Regular buses run by the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC buses/BTS buses) provide the cheapest but most crowded way to commute. BMTC’s Volvo bus service offers a more comfortable ride. Know which bus number takes you to your destination: sometimes names of places will only be written on the bus display in the local script and language, i.e. Kannada.
There are several taxi services in the city. Meru Cabs is a safe and reliable option. If they’re booked out, try these others.