Mumbai is an attractive destination for tourists from all over the world. With tons of beaches, heritage monuments, a plethora of options to eat out, a shopping paradise and a bustling city life, it is a place worth exploring.
If you wish to go from one end of the city to another in the fastest possible way, then catching a Mumbai local is the best option. Infamously known as the lifeline of Mumbai, it is the most preferred and budget-friendly travelling option for newcomers in the city.
Also, there is a saying that if you can travel by Mumbai local trains, then you can travel by any train around the world. However, travelling in a local train can be a daunting task for tourists.
Read this article till the end to know every aspect about travelling by the Mumbai local trains and make your journey a memorable experience.
Local train routes in Mumbai-
Before beginning your journey, it is vital to know the routes of local trains. Local trains running in Mumbai are spread out over three major routes, the Western line, the Central line and the Harbour line.
The western line stretches from the southernmost tip of the city beginning at Churchgate to the outer north of the city till Virar.
The central line commences from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in the South and goes up to the northeast till Karjat and Kasara.
The Harbour line runs from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus to Navi Mumbai and Panvel through the eastern dock area.
Out of the above three, the western line is the most chosen route by tourists, since it has the highest number of tourist spots. The major stations on this route are Bandra, a happening place in Mumbai suburbs; Mahalaxmi for its close proximity to Haji Ali Dargah and Borivali to explore Sanjay Gandhi national park.
Andheri, on the western route, is also an important destination because of its close proximity to the international airport.
Types of local trains
Now that you are familiar with the routes of Mumbai local, it is time to look at the types of trains running on these routes.
Mumbai local trains are classified as Fast and Slow trains, indicated by ‘F’ and ‘S’, respectively on the monitor screen at the platform. Fast trains halt at fewer stations while slow trains halt at every station. The monitor screen also displays the list of stations where fast trains won’t stop.
However, it is very important for tourists to clearly know their destination station name. If you are confused with the name, ask a local individual. It is very common among tourists to miss their destination station and get down a couple of stations ahead or before.
Suitable days and time to travel by local train
This is the most important aspect for tourists in order to catch the local train and have an unforgettable experience of travelling in Mumbai local.
If you wish to travel on the western line, it is recommended to travel on weekends and holidays.
However, if you don’t have any alternative and choose to travel on a weekday, do so between 11 am to 5 pm to avoid the rush of morning and evening hours.
It is crucial to know that the local trains are densely crowded during the morning and evening peak hours from 7 am to 11 am and 5 pm until 11 pm.
It is always advised to tourists to avoid travelling in local trains during those peak hours. However, if you wish to witness the experience, you can do so by observing the rush hours from a safe place on the platform, especially at Dadar and Andheri stations.
How to book a ticket.
The most preferred method to book the local train tickets is through the ticket counters which are right outside the station premises on both ends of the platform.
Tickets available are of two types, first-class and second class. First-class tickets are expensive since first-class carriages have padding on their seats and are less crowded. Second class tickets are highly affordable and widely preferred by commuters while travelling in the local.
You can either purchase a single journey ticket or a return journey ticket. A single journey ticket is preferable if you wish to just reach your desired station and have no intentions of coming back from the same route.
However, if you want to travel back the same route, it is recommended to purchase a return journey ticket. This eliminates the need to purchase another ticket while coming back.
Both types of tickets are valid for only one journey and should happen on the same day.
Once you are near the station premises, head to the ticket booking windows. Depending on your time and location, you might see a short or long queue of people waiting to purchase their tickets. Get in the queue and once your turn comes, tell them the destination station precisely and check your ticket after you get it.
If you wish to purchase a first-class coach ticket, you have to specify it at the counter while purchasing the ticket.
An alternate way to skip the long queues and purchase the tickets is through the UTS mobile application. Download the app and register yourself and take advantage to book local train tickets without standing in queues outside the station premises.
Also, refrain from purchasing tickets from any individual outside the station premises.
Locating the platform and the coach.
You can start proceeding towards the platform after you have your ticket to get into the local train. If you are heading either towards CST or Churchgate, you can go to platform number 2 or 4 depending on your choice of catching a slow or fast local.
If you are going towards Virar, you can proceed to platform number 1 or 3 as per your choice of slow or fast local.
However, it is always recommended to look up to the monitor screen near the ticket booking counter to precisely know the platform or ask a local passenger to avoid boarding the wrong train.
Once you are on the platform, make sure to be at the right place to board the right coach. If you have purchased a first-class ticket, look for red coloured stripes or a board indicating the first-class coach. A first-class coach of the Mumbai local train has distinct red coloured stripes painted over it.
If you are a sole female and wish to travel in a ladies only coach, look for places where a large crowd of women is congregated on the platform. A ladies’ carriage in a local train is identified by green coloured stripes over it.
It is recommended that you reach the platform at least 3-4 minutes prior to the required time to avoid catching the train amidst the rush.
Getting on and off the train.
Be prepared to forget your manners and push or get pushed while boarding the local train. There is no nice or correct way to board the local trains of Mumbai. Usually, passengers wait for the crowd to get down and then rush all in at the same time to enter the coach and grab the seats.
For tourists and newcomers, it is recommended to stay between the crowd, neither behind nor ahead and then use your discretion to get into the train.
Avoid standing near the door, if you prefer not to be pushed constantly. Always prefer going inside the coach towards the seating arrangements. We do not recommend standing on the footboard of the train.
While deboarding the local train, in case it is crowded, come near to the gate at least 1 or 2 stations prior to your destination station. If there is less crowd in the train, then you can make your way to the gate as soon as the train approaches your destination station.
It is better to wait near the gate amongst the crowd and wait for the train to stop while getting down.
Also, don’t be surprised if you witness other passengers getting off the train even before it stops.
The local trains usually halt for 30 seconds at all stations and for 3-5 mins at terminating stations which are either Churchgate, CST, Borivali or Virar.
Once, you get off the train, you can take the exit towards the west or east side.
Since the majority of the tourist attractions fall on the west side, you can take the exit from platform number one.
However, if you prefer to go to the east side, you can choose the way exiting from the last platform, usually platform 4 or 8.
Some key tools that help you to make your local train ride enjoyable include the mobile applications m-indicator, UTS ticket booking app and a map of the local train routes. M indicator gives you quick access to timetables and station names of all three routes.
Follow the steps guided in this article and soon you will be one among the millions to have a memorable experience of catching the local trains of Mumbai.