Delhi's bus system is not for the fainted hearted, or indeed for those who need to
get somewhere on time. The network covers most of the city and is dirt cheap but
is also overcrowded and ramshackle - adventure travel you might say. There are plenty
of metered yellow-and-black taxis, but don't expect the existence of a meter to mean
they will use it.
Always demand they turn on the meter.
Learn to negotiate before you get going. Auto-rickshaws are generally speedy over
short distances and less expensive - cycle rickshaws are somewhat romantic but harder
to find now they have been removed from the modern parts of the city. Motorcycle
rickshaws are a better bet during busy hours. They have set courses and prices and
can muscle their way through traffic as well. If you have the time, try hiring a
bike, especially in New Delhi where the wide, less crowded roads make for safer pedaling
Delhi's bus system is for thrill seekers, anthropologists and those with time on
their hands. Buses are generally hopelessly crowded and driven by maniacs. Avoid
them altogether during rush hours; otherwise, try boarding or leaving at the beginning
or end of a route because there's more chance of a seat and less chance of being
trampled to death. There are some seats reserved for women on the left-hand side
of the bus.
There are plenty of metered yellow-and-black taxis, but invariably the meters are
out of date, not working or the drivers will simply refuse to use them. Negotiate
a fare before you set out. Auto-rickshaws are generally faster than taxis on short
trips and cost half the price. Negotiate a fare before you board and make sure your
will is in order. Six-seater motorcycle rickshaws run fixed routes at fixed prices
and are good value during rush hours. Cycle rickshaws are banned from New Delhi itself,
but can be handy for traveling around 'Old' Delhi.
Cycling is an excellent way of getting around, especially in New Delhi, where the
roads are wide, in good condition and, by Indian standards, uncrowded. At the large
traffic roundabouts just take a deep breath and plunge in and hope for the best.