Monday, April 12, 2010

Travel by Road in India

A great way to experience the natural beauty of the country is to travel by road in India. The country has an extensive network of highways and local roads. Every day, millions of Indians travel over the country’s roads for official and personal reasons. Here is an India road map of the highways and roads in the country.

Click on the India Road Map to enlarge it.

The country also has a diverse range of local transport right from horse drawn carts to modern buses that is available. What’s more, the transport available in different States or different regions of a State varies according to the intricacies of the area.

1. Buses or Mini Buses – This is the cheapest way to travel by road in India. Buses include inter State buses that provide transport over far off cities as well as local city buses. Every major city of India has a bus system with fixed fares. Buses may run on diesel, petrol or compressed natural gas (CNG). Most tour operators have their own buses to take tourists sightseeing. If you are with a large group of tourists, you may consider hiring the services of a private chartered bus for your stay.

2. Taxis – Though rather expensive compared to conventional means of transport, taxis are a useful option to travel by road in India, especially if you are traveling in a small group with lots of luggage. In certain cities such as Mumbai, auto rickshaws are not permitted to ply in some areas; this makes the taxi the only alternative to traveling by bus.

Most airports and railway stations in the country have a prepaid taxi service. This service enables you to book a taxi to a specific destination for a fixed rate. You are saved the hassle of arguing about fares with the cab driver or being taken for a long ride in a strange city. Always remember to take your India road map along to avoid such hassles. However, in case you have a problem, you may immediately lodge a complaint with the traffic police. Recently, the concept of ‘Radio Taxis’ has also been introduced.

3. Autorickshaws – Also known locally as an auto, a tempo or a rickshaw, the autorickshaw is the ideal low cost option to travel by road in India. The look of an auto usually differs from State to State. Generally, it is a vehicle with three wheels that is painted yellow and black. Autorickshaws that run on compressed natural gas are painted yellow and green. The amount of seats in one such vehicle varies from three to eight depending on the type of rickshaw. In some cities, autorickshaws have a fixed route and go about picking up additional passengers for a small fare.

Prepaid autorickshaws are available outside major railway stations and some airports. When you hire an auto, try to go by the meter. If you are in a shared vehicle, fix the fare beforehand with the driver so that you do not have to face any hassle later. Bargaining is allowed.

4. Cycle Rickshaws – Another mode of travel by road in India, the cycle rickshaw is useful for traveling short distances. They are usually available in areas where buses and autorickshaws don’t ply because of traffic congestion or non-profitability of routes. Cycle rickshaws are a tricycle with a high passenger seat for two people. The driver pedals from the front. There is no meter for this vehicle and the fare needs to be fixed by bargaining with the driver in advance.

5. Others – India also has a variety of other unique forms of transport such as horse carriages, tonga, bullock carts, manually pulled rickshaws and motorcycle rickshaws that ply only in fixed areas. If you are looking for more contemporary forms of transport to travel by road in India, then cars and two wheelers are available for hire. However, most car rental agencies provide a driver and don't rent out to individuals even though they may possess a valid international drivers license and other documents.

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