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Last updated : Nov 2009
Delhi Getting Around
Getting Around Delhi - TravelPuppy.com
Public Transport

The first phase of the long-debated Delhi metro – officially, the Mass Rapid Transit System or MRTS – is finally under construction. It is anticipated that the first trains will be up and running by January 2003; however, the first phase of the MRTS will not be fully operational until the end of 2005. The trains will be partly elevated partly over ground, and partly underground and will spread to 62 kilometres (39 miles). The tunneling for the underground was scheduled to start in the summer of 2002. The MRTS will hopefully reduce the reliance of Delhi’s population on the car, reducing traffic and benefiting the city and its environment.

There are also numerous schemes stirring to improve the flow of traffic in the city, most importantly, the construction of flyovers. Eleven flyovers have been constructed since 1998-99 and there are plans for an additional 45 over the next ten years. However, Delhi remains addicted to the car – vehicles registered in the city has jumped by 90% since 1991 – and congestion, noise and pollution are a constant annoyance.

There are public buses in Delhi, although finding a seat is a task that disputes all Western notions of common courtesy and personal space. Once on, passengers should be ready for a numbing, bone-crunching ride. The Delhi Transport Corporation operates a centralized bus service of more than 300 routes (tel: (011) 331-7445).

Tourist services include:

 Bus #454 between Connaught Place and Nizamuddin,

 Bus #505 to Mehrauli and Qutb Minar,

 Bus #620 to Chanakyapuri and

 Buses #101 and #139 between Park Hotel and the Red Fort.

There is a row of seats reserved for women on the left of every bus. although this rule is observed only on a whim. DTC also operates an evening bus service. Bus fare costs between Rs5-Rs10 and is paid when boarding.

A DTC General All-Route Pass costs Rs400-450 and can be purchased from Scindia House (tel: (011) 331-7445) or 1 of 36 other pass sections, including Delhi Gate, Cover ground and Shahdara Terminal.

The best way to get around Delhi's city is by taxi or auto-rickshaw (see below). Currently, in order to tackle the city’s air pollution, the auto-rickshaws and taxis are forced by the government to convert from petrol to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). This supposedly has made some statistical impact – Delhi has now moved below Culcutta and Mumbai on the list of India’s most polluted cities – although when standing amidst the traffic’s fumes, it is hard to believe it.

The authorities are also trying to oblige Delhi’s taxis and auto-rickshaws to install electronic meters, to battle the rampant overcharging of passengers – according to a recent estimate, Delhi’s commuters are overcharged Rs2 billion, almost £30 million, yearly. Unsurprisingly, this is really unpopular among the taxi and rickshaw wallahs, subsequently, the conversion to electronic meters has been very slow.


Auto-rickshaws are open-sided, motorized tricycles, which swerve in and out of Delhi’s appalling traffic and can be stopped almost everywhere in the city. Visitors should brace themselves for an uncomfortable ride as they surge over the potholes and bumps of Delhi’s roads, at the same level as the exhaust pipes of most buses and lorries.

There are 4 and 6-seater motorcycle rickshaws available in Delhi, which operate fixed routes at fixed prices. The route is between the Red Fort and Palika Bazaar at Connaught Place. Bicycle rickshaws are available for short distance travel in Old Delhi. The meter starting rate is Rs5 for auto-rickshaws but meters are invariably out of order and there are usually surcharges over the metered price, so fares should be agreed upon before staring the journey. Drivers often expect a tip from foreign tourists and 10% of the fare is adequate.


Visitors can book the Yellow and black Ambassador taxis at local taxi stands or through hotels. (prices are fixed in advance) Drivers do not normally expect tips unless they have been extra helpful to their passenger.

There is a 100% surcharge between 11.00 pm and 5.00 am. Like auto-rickshaws, there are official rates for taxis but metered prices are usually impose high surcharges and can be double the price of auto-rickshaws. The official starting meter rate is Rs5. Prices should be negotiated before the journey.


For day of sightseeing or longer journeys, Ambassador cars– of the yellow and black, or plain cream variety – with a driver are the best option. These can be booked at the Tourist Office, through hotels or at private travel agents. Services International (tel: (011) 578-2636) provide chauffeur-driven ‘luxury’ cars, including air-conditioned Mercedes and Fords. In Delhi, a Mercedes with a chauffeur for eight hours would cost US$147 and a Ford US$70.

Driving in the City

Driving in Delhi at times can take nerves of steel. The wide boulevards of New Delhi cause potential dangers. However, negotiating the vehicular chaos which is in Old Delhi can test the ability of the most skilled driver, as bicycles and rickshaws careen through the choking traffic of trucks, buses, lone wandering cows, ox carts, elephants and goats.

India has an astonishing amount of 'dignitaries and VIPs, and roads are usually closed for ‘VIP movement’. Driving at night can be really dangerous, with streets and cars lit only intermittently. There are very few car parks and generally driving alone around the city is not recommended.

Car Hire

Car hire agencies include Europcar Inter-Rent (tel: (011) 619-1786) and Wheels Rent A Car (tel: (011) 331-8695). Most of the main hotels can also arrange car hire on the guests’ behalf. An International Driving Permit is mandatory for driving in India and in most cases the drivers must be at least 25 years or over. The 3rd-party insurance is required by law. Car hire rates start at Rs2250 per day.

Bicycle & Scooter Hire

Cycling in this city can take some courage but it is a good mean of traveling around the broad boulevards, which are mainly un crowded and in fairly good condition. Unfortunately, bicycle rental is hard to find; however, there is a no-name shop, in Pahar Ganj, a short walk from Hotel Vivek, offering bicycles for hire.

Lovers of vintage motorcycles travel to India to satisfy a penchant for its locally built Enfield's. Lucky Auto Accessories on Shri Kishan Dass Road, stocks renovated Enfield Bullets while Inder Motors on Hari Singh Malwa street (tel: (011) 572-8579), has new and used Enfield's for sale.
Useful travel links
Car Hire-India rent a car in India
Delhi Car Rental rent a car in Delhi