Hyderabad - Post Report Question and Answers

Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Local buses: affordable yes, but I did not take one Trains: also affordable, but booking can be a pain. Cool way to travel if you can plan it! Taxis / Tuktuks (“autos”): very affordable, but unreliable. Uber drivers very often take the ride, don’t show and refuse to cancel. Seatbelts typically missing (one person can usually sit in the front). If you flag a taxi or “auto”, negotiate in advance (don’t be afraid to ask for an absolute fraction of the offer or start walking away). Autos are super unsafe (open, no seatbelt), but man, they’re fun and usually the fastest way around. Indian driving and traffic are the subject of a lot of commentary: you’ll be joining this conversation. - Jan 2023

The metro is awesome but was of very limited use to us other than as a way to see the city from above. We never road buses. Tuk-tuks/rickshaws are a blast but not encouraged by the consulate. We used Uber regularly and that was always fine. - Dec 2020

Local buses are likely very cheap, but horrifically crowded and dangerously driven. There is one metro line in the city that has a stop near the Consulate but doesn't go near any of our housing so I haven't ridden it. Uber is widely used, but incredibly frustrating. Most of the time, once you've submitted your ride request and been matched with a driver, the driver will call you to figure out where you are going and whether it will be profitable to him. If he judges it's not worth his time, he'll cancel your ride or try to cajole or threaten you into cancelling. I have colleagues I have personally watched go through 5 or 6 drivers before one accepts the ride and shows up. There are not seatbelts in Ubers, most drivers seem to cut them out of their cars. The cars are small and generally rotated between several drivers as they take shifts, so the driver in the ride you've accepted is probably not the driver who will take you to your destination. - Jul 2020

Taxis are a big part of a lot of people's lives. Despite what others might think, you can absolutely live in Hyderabad without a car, using only the taxi companies (Uber and Ola, currently; Grab might be trying to make headway, which would be great). Uber works for some; they permanently banned me when I tried to change my credit card. Ola was okay. Customer service for both companies is terrible. The costs per ride are very cheap, but the cars are beyond unreliable. The drivers work 24 hour shifts, split their cars with other drivers, change cars, the cars are usually filthy, the drivers are untrained and unlicensed, often smelly, do not have working seat belts, call you before every pickup, deny you rides, inexplicably travel in the wrong direction, and a myriad of other issues. I hated every moment of it, but without a car I had no other option until I started carpooling. Despite all of that, I'd still probably choose taxi over buying my own car because it's so much cheaper. The cost of the car, plus repairs, insurance, gas, and a driver is an enormous expense whereas I spent roughly $100 on taxis to/from work each month. That said, riding with my friends who had cars/drivers was a GREAT luxury and I was always so grateful because the personal drivers were always safe and well trained. Buses do not appear safe (I never took them). The new above-ground metro was a hit with locals and foreigners alike, cutting down a lot of traffic time to the suburbs, though its one line doesn't go very many places yet. Once it goes to Gachibowli and the airport, Hyderabad will be infinitely more navigable. Trains to other parts of the country are slow, dirty, and would take days, so that's not a great option unless you're hunting for an adventure. - Jul 2019

There is a new elevated train system being built that looks rather remarkable. I think this will make traffic better and public transport better. I would not recommend buses. Uber and Ola are common, we have used Uber a good amount. - Jan 2019

Uber and local company Meru Cabs are cleared to use. We don't use buses or the tuktuks; both are unsafe. - Nov 2017

No, trains and buses are unsafe. Uber and Meeru taxi companies are affordable, but language is an issue when giving directions; they sometimes can't find your place, as roads are never marked. Some use the GPS, others don't. It is hit and miss; before you even realize it, you end up in a part of the town you should not be in. - Sep 2016

I've heard a lot of people taking 1st class A/C trains having a fine experience. Taxis and tuktuks are fine, same with uber. I have not - and will not - try the buses. Affordable: yes to all. - Mar 2015

I've not taken a local train, bus, or taxi. There are several taxi companies, including Uber, that seem reputable. - Jan 2015

Rickshaws are cheap and plentiful but you won't get very far. Radio and airort taxis are safe - I wouldn't hail one off the street. City buses - lol. Intercity buses and trains are available for the adventurous and those with lots of time. Women should avoid these unless traveling in groups or looking to test their self-defense skills. For US$50 more you can take a cheap local flight and arrive at your destination 20 hours earlier. Your call. - Nov 2014

Affordable? Yes. Safe? If you are a man, then yes. Apart from relatively high frequency of rape, many of the buses are in rough shape. Earlier this year, a toddler girl died when she was riding in the bus and fell through a hole on the floor. - Jul 2014

Local autorickshaws are definitely affordable. Buses are not safe, and taxis are extremely unreliable. They do not roam the streets, so you have to call in advance, and they often do not show up. - Mar 2012

Taxis, trains, and auto-rickshaws are all reasonably safe. I don't know any expats who use buses, mostly because they are so crowded and dirty more than because of safety issues. - Feb 2012

Trains around the country are super cheap, but you need to book early. There is one local train, but I've never seen nor heard of an expat taking it (crowded, filthy, only makes a loop around the city). Taxis are safe and cheap, but for some reason Hyderabad only has them at readily available at the airport. There are a few buses, but they are incredibly crowded, filthy and don't maintain a regular schedule. - Jan 2011


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