Learning through experience and error

The Sheer Beauty and Efficiency of the Taxi System in Mumbai


I was in Mumbai for a week and while I choose not to share any details of my trip, there is one thing I cannot resist commenting on – the taxi system.

The Sheer Beauty of the Taxi System in Mumbai

I’ve lived in Delhi-NCR for a year over two years and commute is terrible. I will not comment on the metro. The Delhi Metro is wonderful despite its minor issues. The problem is commute on the road. If you take an Uber or Ola these days then you’ll listen to your driver’s rant about low incentives and low fares. When it comes to auto-rickshaws, the only thing you can accomplish with them is a subtly high fare after half an hour of haggling.

In contrast, Mumbai’s taxis are beautiful. That’s the only word I can use here. I mean, it was amazing to see how everyone trusted the system so much. While I took an Uber the first moment I was in the city. I insisted on taking taxis throughout the rest of the trip. That is the effect it had on me.

First of all, availability. I could find a taxi at any hour and everywhere I went to, at least as far as the central and southern parts of the city are concerned. I could find a taxi throughout Colaba, Andheri, Worli and so on.

Secondly, no taxi is unmetered. Everything’s fair and it’s right in front of you. Still feeling nervous? You can always find the fare data online. You won’t need to though.

Thirdly, the personal touch is worth it. Every driver was fun to interact with. Each taxi had a different vibe going on. Each had a different pattern on the inside. Some had flowers while some had snazzy, retro Bollywood music.

Taxi Interiors - The Polymath
This is how the inside of one of my taxis looked like.

Lastly, no judgement. While this is subjective to luck as each person is different, I still think it remains the same, more or less. To be honest, for all the good I write about the cabs in Delhi, there is one thing that bugs me a lot and that is judgemental behaviour. I’m in your taxi, drive me to my location without interrogating me about what I was up to, why I’m here and why I took an UberGo and not an UberPool. I’ve had comments on my college, lifestyle and so on. It’s just that you ignore stuff like that until you realise that it’s not everywhere and normal.

Thousands of Mumbaikars take taxis daily and I have never seen a person in Delhi raise their hand, stop a vehicle, get in and be on their way with the speed and trust that I could do in Mumbai. You will not believe the efficiency until you experience it yourself. It’s as streamlined as it gets. You’ll find professionalism in all parts of your ride. At least I did or perhaps, I was lucky.

That said, for someone who appreciates the little things in life, I was amazed to see how wonderful this part of the city felt and well. This alone made my trip memorable. It also added Mumbai to my cities I might visit every once in  a while because I love them list.

About the author

Deepansh Khurana

Blogger and writer from Dehradun, India. I'd say I love coffee but don't we all? I find stories, people and experiences. I blog about them.

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Deepansh Khurana

Blogger and writer from Dehradun, India. I'd say I love coffee but don't we all? I find stories, people and experiences. I blog about them.


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