Thursday, May 2, 2019

How To Travel in Bangalore

I've been traveling extensively in and around central Bangalore for the past 6+ months. I have experimented with various modes of transport and various tools that assist finding the right transport in these journeys. Today when I met Nishan on his first day of a new life in Bangalore, I realized I have been traveling long enough to give some travel advice.

Disclaimer: This may not apply to all parts of Bengaluru, especially the Electronic City side (which actually should come under Chennai metro)

What is the best way to travel in Bangalore? It depends. What time is it? Where are you going? How much time do you have?

BMTC
BMTC is the most connected public transport system in Bangalore. The frequency of buses is usually inversely proportional to how badly we want to reach somewhere quickly. But, if we leave enough time to wait for the right bus, there will always be a bus. 

The BMTC app on play store is a hit and miss. If you've used it successfully in a particular route and if the time is before 8pm there is a high chance that the "Trip planner" will show buses that actually are plying. In fact, in such situations the information is so accurate (location, bus number plate, etc.) that I've been thinking about an Uber like service on top of the BMTC app.

There is a monthly pass if it works for you. For ₹1100 in ordinary buses and ₹1700 in AC buses you can travel wherever you want how much ever you want for a month. These passes can be got from any of the bus stations. There is also a daily pass which can be got from bus conductors.

Metro
Namma metro is simple. It either goes where you are going or it doesn't. Indiranagar, Jayanagar, Majestic, Mysore Road, Yeshwanthpur - these are best connected by the metro. The unfair advantage metro has over any other means of transport is that at 7 o'clock when the entire road network is jammed up, the metro rail just flies over the traffic.

In rush hour, if possible, always choose metro.

Get a metro card. It saves 15%. It can be recharged online. And it can be kept in wallet which allows you past gates by waving the wallet over them.

Uber/Ola/Rapido/Speedo/Ludo/Bodo/whatever-do
Uber and Ola are for business class travel. Also, when it is late night and there is no other way to travel. Rapido is for teenagers who aren't afraid of dying. Avoid all these unless absolutely trapped.

Google maps
The only tool you need to figure out the best route to anywhere is Google maps. It may not always get the timing right (especially for buses), but it always calculates the quickest route. Use the public transport tab. Use options and choose "subway" whenever there is a chance. Experiment with the starting/ending point a bit and there may be more convenient routes.

When using Google maps for planning travel, always be mindful of the time of day for which the calculations are made. Change this in the "arrive by" or "depart at" setting.

To conclude, traveling cheaply in Bangalore is possible. The secret is in planning and timing. Use the tips I've laid out with your own judgement and enjoy traveling!


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