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Mumbai Rush Hour Transport Race (With Video Of Bicycle Ride)

It’s 6pm, you’re in Colaba and you need to go north, what do you do? Risk a traffic jam in a taxi? Get a free body massage in the train? Weave in and out of traffic with your motorbike? We decided to put six forms of transport to the test and figure out the answer once and for all.

Mumbai Map

Last Thursday, twelve Reality Tours staff met outside our Colaba office at 6pm and prepared to race across Mumbai. The destination was our Dharavi office, 14km to the north. We decided to race in pairs on six types of transport: taxi, train, bus, motorbike, bicycle and running.

Here are the result in reverse order!

Mumbai Transport Race Contestants
Our Mumbai Transport Race Contestants


Joe and Mayur, representing the Reality Gives Marathon Team (find out more and support them here), agreed to battle traffic and pollution and do the commute on foot.

Mumbai Running Team
Joe and Mayur, the Reality Gives Marathon Team

[ezcol_1fifth]Trip length: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]1 hour 48 minutes[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]Distance: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]14.65 kilometres[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]Calories Burned: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]1,005[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]Cost: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]Free[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]Route: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]”We decided to go for a less scenic route following main roads north on the eastern edge of the city.”[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]Worst Part: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]”Knowing that we could have gone a bit faster and beat the bus team, that was our goal!”[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]Best Part: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]”It gave us a chance to slow down and have a long conversation. We see each other a lot at work but never have time to really have a conversation. This gave us the chance to discuss what’s going in our lives. It was really great. It was also fantastic training for the marathon. We’re going to do this run every month and try to keep beating our time.”[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]How Was the Experience: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]”We ran on main roads on the right side of the road, going into oncoming traffic. There were a lot of hand carts in the way and sometimes we had to go into the middle of the road between lanes of traffic. We started a bit too fast and had to walk for about 3km in the middle. But we sprinted the last couple of kilometres to the office.”[/ezcol_4fifth_end]


Nilesh and Sunny, our guides for the Local Transport Tour, took the bus, despite the fact that they didn’t even know the way!

The bus team, Nilesh and Sunny
The bus team, Nilesh and Sunny

[ezcol_1fifth]Trip length: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]1 hour 43 minutes[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]Cost: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]Rs. 32 per person[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]Route: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]”It took 32 total stops in total. We started at Colaba Electric House Depot where we had to wait 15 minutes for Bus #1 to Dadar. At Dadar, first we had to find the right bus stop. We asked the ticket checker of every bus that passed if it went to Sion Hosipital. When we found the bus we had to run after it and jump on because we weren’t at the bus stop. Then we walked from Sion Hospital to the office.”[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]Worst Part: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]”Where to start. The bus shakes a lot, we got stuck in traffic, we had to take an indirect route, just getting from Colaba to Byculla took 40 minutes, we had to wait for the buses, we had to walk between bus stops when we transferred, and, at the end, we had to walk from Sion Hospital to the office.”[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]Best Part: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]”We had a nice view of CST lit up pink and it was great to be above the madness of Mohammad Ali Road. We also spotted a great offer for jeans (Killer Jeans, buy six a seventh free!).”[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]How Was the Experience: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]”Not good. I would never take a bus north unless there was absolutely no other option. I will never do it again and don’t recommend it. But at least we made it safely!”[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

Bus Stand
The view from on the bus
The view from on the bus. Thankfully it wasn’t crowded.


Franziska, our German intern, and Bipin, one of our Dharavi Tour guides, were willing to test out the Mumbai local at rush hour.

Train team
Train team, Bipin and Franziska

[ezcol_1fifth]Trip length: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]1 hour 10 minutes[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]Cost: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]Rs. 90 per person (including taxis on either end of the train)[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]Route: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]”We took a taxi to Churchgate then a slow train Mahim, then a taxi from Mahim to the office.”[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]Worst Part: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]”Finding a taxi at Mahim. No one wanted to go to Labor Camp so we had to lie, say Sion Hospital and jump out early. The taxi driver didn’t get upset.”[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]Best Part: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]”The train ride was nice and really fast.”[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]How Was the Experience: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]”The train was okay, this is how we get around every day so we knew what to expect. It was full but not packed which was surprising at 6pm, but a very welcome surprise. We went second class and stayed together in mixed compartment.”[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

Franziska on the train
They even got seats!

Mumbai local train rush hour

Motorbike 1 (Royal Enfield)

Siddhi, one of our senior guides, was more than happy to take his Royal Enfield for a ride across the city at sunset. But he wouldn’t be able to keep up with Suraj and his Honda Activa, so they decided to split up.

Siddhi (left) and Suraj (right), our two fearless bike riders.
Siddhi (left) and Suraj (right), our two fearless bike riders.

[ezcol_1fifth]Trip length: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]1 hour 7 minutes[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]Cost: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]Gas estimated at Rs. 100[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]Route: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]”I went west to Marine Drive, then up past Mahalaxmi, Tulsi Pipe Road (Mahim main road), and over to 60 feet road.”[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]Worst Part: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]”My bike is too wide so I can’t ride on the edge of the road. I had to wait in traffic.”[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]Best Part: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]”It was a fun ride. I always have fun riding my motorbike.”[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]How Was the Experience: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]”I knew I would be in traffic, so I chose a route with nice views. Chowpatty, Malabar hill, and the high rises near Mahalaxmi were all nice. But the best view was from the Lower Parel elevated highway. With the evening light it was amazing.”[/ezcol_4fifth_end]


Zuber, our caretaker, and Nick, our Marketing Director, agreed to go by cycle and battle the motorised vehicles north. They don’t share a common language but they shared a common goal: beat the motorbikes!

Team Bicycle
Nick and Zuber, Team Bicycle

[ezcol_1fifth]Trip length: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]58 minutes[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]Cost: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]Free[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]Route: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]”Straight north through the traffic up to Dadar then we took a secret way without traffic on the Port Trust Road, then we cut back west to the office from Antop Hill.”[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]Worst Part: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]”My seat wasn’t tightened all the way so it would twist when I would turn to look for Nick.”[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]Best Part: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]”It was really fun. It’s a very simple idea, but nobody does this with a bicycle, so it was great to actually try it. Dodging cars was also fun and a big adrenaline rush!”[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]How Was the Experience: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]”Absolutely crazy. Mostly due to the fact that Zuber set a really aggressive pace and didn’t back down to oncoming traffic. We were determined to beat the motorbikes! The Port Trust Road was much calmer and was a nice break after the traffic.”[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

Motorbike 2 (Honda Activa)

Suraj and his nimble Honda Activa were ready to beat the Mumbai traffic.

Suraj taking a selfy in traffic

[ezcol_1fifth]Trip length: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]50 minutes[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]Cost: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]Gas estimated at Rs 35-40[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]Route: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]”I took 4 Road which runs parallel to Mohommad Ali Road.”[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]Worst Part: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]”There was a traffic jam near Mohammad Ali Road so I had to take a diversion to a different road. I think that moved saved me second place.”[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]Best Part: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]”I got a great view of CST lit up with really nice evening lighting. I also got really lucky with the signals, which never happens to me!”[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]How Was the Experience: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]”It was an interesting ride. We got to see a few sites – CST, Minar Masjid Masque on Mohommad Ali Road, and great views from the elevated freeway.”[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

CST at twilight
A pink CST at twilight


Jitu and Raj, Dharavi Tour guides,  were more than happy to hope in a taxi and enjoy the ride.

Taxi Team
Taxi Team: Raj (left) and Jitu (right). Looks like they knew they were going to win.

[ezcol_1fifth]Trip length: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]45 minutes[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]Cost: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]Rs. 290[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]Route: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]”We went north past CST and then onto the elevated expressway.”[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]Worst Part: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]”It was expensive, way more than a train costs. We took one of the old Fiat taxis so it was also a bit uncomfortable. People also got in our way because they didn’t use the flyovers or subways.”[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]Best Part: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]”We had a really nice driver who thought it was funny that we were in a race. He also stopped a few places so we could get pictures.”[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

[ezcol_1fifth]How Was the Experience: [/ezcol_1fifth] [ezcol_4fifth_end]”It was an interesting ride. We got to see a few sites – CST, Minar Masjid Masque on Mohommad Ali Road, and great views from the elevated freeway.”[/ezcol_4fifth_end]

The winning team!


It turns out that a good attitude is all that’s required to beat Mumbai rush hour traffic. Every group seemed to have a great time, whether they were watching the sun set over Chowpatty, witnessing a pink CST with a pink sky, dodging traffic on a bicycle, or slowing down and having a deep conversation. Our teams learned that you can’t escape the Mumbai traffic, but you can embrace it. An argument for any transport could be easily made based on your budget and comfort requirements — just don’t take a bus.