Mumbai’s local railway is called the lifeline of the city. Trains can get so overcrowded during peak hours that it becomes almost impossible to board the train. But over the years, I have collected some tips that will help you conquer this monster.
Actually, it isn’t the train that is a monster but the people are. They don’t let you travel with dignity and peace because of their uncivilized ways of boarding and alighting the train.
I have been traveling since I was in school and nothing has changed. If you hear anyone saying that it’s worse nowadays, never believe them. It was always like that, always!
The good news is that there are some tips and tricks to help you travel a little comfortable in the Mumbai local.
- Accept the truth: First thing is to accept the truth that the situation is not going to change; in near future. Mumbai is a densely populated city and will continue to be so. Neither the infrastructure nor the uncivilized behavior of the travelers will change.
- Travel at non-peak hours: If you’re not a regular journey this can be a golden rule. It’s a little better in non-peak hours i.e between 1 PM to 5 PM or so.
- Take the last compartment: The last compartment, next to the loco-pilot, is a little less crowded.
- Use technology: Use the UTS app to book your tickets prior to your journey. This will save your energy for the real thing. M-Indicator is a good app to plan your travel.
- Settle in: Don’t stand near the doors if you have to make a long journey. Get inside the compartment and stand near the seats.
- Luggage ethics: If you have a simple journey or office bag, just wear it on the front. If you have more, try the luggage compartment.
- Look out for the last station: As a good practice, always catch the train that is traveling the shortest distance towards your destination.
- Class doesn’t give you a class: Don’t worry about traveling first or second class. They both are the same in peak hours. In non-peak hours, first class is a little less crowded. People are the same—as good and as bad in both classes.
- Try different timings: The crowd in the local train is random. It’s never the same. So don’t fall prey to a particular train. After all, variety is the spice of life!
- Avoid busy stations: I don’t suggest boarding or alighting at bust stations like Dadar. There’re always alternatives that you can choose.
- Be polite: Always be polite to your co-passengers. People are generally kind but get frustrated by the travel but politeness attracts good behavior.
- Don’t judge: Everyone has their own private trap. They’re not necessarily the same person as they’re in the train and judging them will only make your journey more troublesome.
- It’s an inside job: Finally, whatever is on the outside is a reflection on what is inside. If you’re not in peace with yourself, you’ll not attain peace on the topmost peak of Himalayas. Take it easy and enjoy the chaos!
I am not sure if you liked the tips but this is my formula. I use it every day and I am getting good at it. I enjoy train travel as it’s a huge time saver. It beats traffic like no one can.
I am sure everyone has their own experience and their own formula. If you have something different, please do share it with me. I am always open to learning!