Though I lived in Mumbai all my life it’s just a few months back that I regularly started traveling in Mumbai Local trains because of a new job.
To give you a little background about my train travel. I live in Malad and travel daily to Lower Parel which is towards town side since the local train is the only best, cost effective and the fastest mode of transport. I heard a fellow passenger once say that in a city like Mumbai distance is not measured in Kilometers but in Time because there are instances when you can travel a longer distance in the shortest time and a shorter distance in the longest time as it all depends on the mode of transport and the traffic conditions.
So the Mumbai local train helps me travel a longer distance in the shortest time unlike the car in which case, I will end up spending hours in traffic.
After talking with some of my fellow travelers and the friends at the office I thought of putting down this list of things to consider before traveling a Mumbai local for those who will at some point visit or move to Mumbai.
Hope you find them helpful.
1 // Buy a Ticket
No matter how late you are to work make sure you always buy a ticket or take a pass before traveling a Mumbai local.
Just because you see a big crowd, don’t assume that you will not get caught. The ticket collectors in Mumbai are trained and have a vigilant eye and trust me they will hunt you down unless you are an experienced crook who knows how to fake it!
2 // Ask for Help
Just in case you are unsure of which train to catch or the platform you need to board the train from, please do not hesitate to ask.
The people of Mumbai are quite helpful and always ready to guide you but unless you ask, nobody will bother to help you out.
3 // Run for a Seat
Even though in general the people of Mumbai are not so cruel but when it comes to boarding an empty train at any of the main stations, they can come across quite aggressive and wild at times.
So if you want to get a seat you have to run and there are no other options unless its fine with you to stand through the journey.
Note: This situation mostly arises during peak hours
4 // Install m-Indicator
Just recently a friend of mine introduced me to the m-Indicator mobile App and I found it quite helpful.
It gives you train timings and in case you plan to take a return train from Malad to Borivali and then to Churchgate it also tells you whether the train you boarded from Malad will turn to a fast or a slow Churchgate local.
Apart from the train details the app also gives you a lot of other information about buses, rickshaw, taxis etc. This one is a must have for every Mumbai traveler.
5 // Watch your Position
This is mainly from a man’s perspective as I’m not sure how it works in the ladies compartment.
When the trains are super crowded you may end up sticking to the people around you in which case, you have to watch your positions because it could land you in trouble both ways. Watch your feet and elbows! Hope you got that cause this is important.
6 // Be Vigilant
A crowded train is the best place for thieves. So, look after your valuables. I usually keep my wallet and mobile phone in my shoulder back and hold in the front.
7 // Keep it Clean
This is not the usual thing you see most people doing in the train but it is my personal and humble request that you maintain cleanliness even when you see others doing the opposite, maybe also try to speak and correct them if you get an opportunity.
8 // Learn some local Lingo
After living in Mumbai one of the best things I’ve picked up is the local Mumbai lingos that I find extremely helpful especially the Marathi ones.
I noticed when you use them on a crowded train, people treat you differently. Like for example “lovkar chala” (move faster), “malad ala ka” (is malad the next station), “jaldi chalo” (move faster)
9 // Ask for help with your Bag
If you are on a crowded train and carrying a heavy bag which you find difficult to handle, do not hesitate to pass it on to the person standing next to the luggage area. People are quite helpful in that regard but ensure you keep an eye on it. (refer to point no.6)
10 // Take care of Elderly passengers
Please do ensure to look after elderly passengers by helping them find a place or even going to the extent of giving away your own seat.
I don’t see a lot of people doing that but let’s be an example to others. Let our act of kindness motivate others to do the same.
11 // Make Friends
If you are a regular traveler and board the same train every day you will notice many familiar faces traveling in the same train every day.
I think it’s a good opportunity to make new friends, catch up on life and know your city better.
These are just a few of my observations and thoughts, feel free to add your own experiences and lessons learned while traveling in a Mumbai Local. I’m sure it will be helpful to many.
And finally hope to meet you on a Mumbai local somewhere someday.