Ground Transportation: India

Allison Sodha

There are many options for Ground Transportation in India. Here is a list of common transports and sample fares:

Depending on the city/region, traditional taxicabs can be hired from stands or hailed from the street. They are required by law to be registered as commercial vehicles and have a fare-meter, though many drivers prefer to set a pre-paid flat rate. Surcharges will apply for extra baggage, night rides and tolls. Due to safety and convenience, taxis have become more popular in recent years.
Sample Fare: INR 15 – INR 25 per km


Buses are generally government-owned and provide a convenient and cheap mode of public transportation. Until recently, buses were overcrowded, not air-conditioned, and offered limited access to the disabled. However, new features such as air-conditioning and low-floor lifts are being initiated in cities to improve the system and attract private car owners to decongest roads.
Sample Fare: INR 5 – INR 15 for a local ticket; INR 25 for an A/C bus

Cycle Rickshaw
Cycle rickshaws have an elevated seat in the back with a person pedaling in front. Although banned in several cities for causing traffic congestion, they are still a feature in Delhi and provide a cheap mode of local transport.
Sample Fare: INR 15 – INR 50

Auto Rickshaw
Also called a tuk-tuk, an auto-rickshaw is a three-wheeled motor vehicle for hire. Generally green, yellow or black in color, they have regulated metered fares and are a common fixture throughout the country.
Sample Fare: Meter starts at INR 10, though many drivers prefer to set a flat rate

Suburban Rail System /Metro/Rapid Transit System
Suburban Rail Systems in India are local trains (similar to the American commuter train) and currently operational in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata. The Mumbai Suburban Railway has the largest passenger density in the world, transporting over 6.4 million passengers daily.

The Delhi Metro is air-conditioned and a reliable option for traveling throughout the city. It was also the first Metro in the world to be certified for environmentally friendly construction.

Rapid Transit Systems are currently under construction in Chennai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, and Mumbai.
Sample Fare: Delhi Metro ticket is INR 9 – INR 35, dependent on distance traveled; Rail System tickets average INR 25 per ticket


The train stations in India, particularly in large cities, are quite complex and can be very overwhelming. We highly recommend using a transfer representative when applicable, as they can safely navigate entering/exiting the station. Please also keep a safe watch of your valuables. When we do hear of theft, it mainly occurs in or around train stations.

Trains are available for both day and overnight journeys. There are generally three classes of seating: 1st class A/C, 2nd class (A/C or non-A/C), and 3rd class non – A/C. Most travelers opt for 1st or 2nd class, where Western restroom facilities are available and seating is reserved. Depending on your itinerary and class of service, meals are delivered by a server or you may purchase food items from a vendor.

Taking an overnight train in India is NOT similar to European rail travel. (This refers to standard train travel, not luxury rail journeys including Palace on Wheels.) Although the Indian rail system is very reliable, we only recommend it for certain travelers. If you are particularly discerning, train travel can be a sensory overload.
Sample Fare: Dependent on Itinerary

Private Vehicle for Hire
Private vehicles can be hired for the day or a proposed itinerary and offer more comfort and a flexible schedule. Depending on the destination and season, A/C or non-A/C vehicles are available.
Sample Fare: Dependent on Itinerary

A Sodha Travel representative will be happy to recommend the best transportation, based on budget and preferences.

Topics: India, Transportation

Allison Sodha

Written by Allison Sodha

As the President of Sodha Travel and author of Go! Girl Guides India, Allison has spent almost two decades exploring South Asia. She has a passion for creating experiences fueled by a deeper understanding of local communities.