Rules for Travelling by Local Train in Bombay

In my last post Irritation-hood of the Travelling Pants I mentioned somewhere that the local trains are the lifeline of Bombay. This is one hundred percent true. Millions of people take the train to work, school, home and everywhere over and above and under and inside.

Having said that, I have to share that there are some rules and prerequisites you should abide by if you are an outsider and considering riding on a train. Every aethist will start praying if these aren’t followed. It’s hilarious, nerve wracking and adventurous (sometimes scary I would think) all rolled together.

  1. Wear your adventurous hat before getting into any train for the first time.
  2. Forget about personal space. It doesn’t exist on the trains.
  3. If you are claustrophobic, you ought to be forbidden from riding on trains.
  4. DO NOT try to ride on a CST bound or Churchgate bound train at peak hours. Somewhere between 7:00 a.m and 9:00 a.m to anytime after 5:00 p.m Monday to Friday.
  5. It’s absolutely impossible to get in without having your own group of friends who will pull you in or give you even two feet space (literally your two feet to stand on).
  6. In a space for three people to sit, four people will squeeze in. Even if it means sitting on a quarter bum.
  7. Train gangs will prevent you from even entering if you are trying to get in on a Virar fast.
  8. Be prepared to be heckled and manhandled if you get down at Andheri or Borivali if you are on a Virar fast.
  9. However much deo you use, you will still smell sweaty and dirty and stinky.
  10. You can buy anything from utensils to hair clip and combs to trinkets and handkerchiefs to snacks and drinks. The cheapest you might find.
  11. People love to hang out of the doors even if there is place inside. On that rare occasion.
  12. There will be groups on the trains who will reserve a place for their own friends boarding two or three station away. DO NOT MESS with them, if you care about your life.
  13. Indicators are frequently incorrect. Wait on the overhead bridge  and then make a dash for the platform once you see the train approaching in the distance.
  14. There are different compartments for men and women!!!
  15. If you are of the feminine gender, get into the men’s compartment. You’re treated like a queen. Try no such stunts during peak hour though.
  16. If you are a man, DO NOT EVEN TRY TO GET INTO THE      WOMEN’S compartment. You’ll be heckled and slaughtered.
  17.  Old ladies are anything but the quintessential sweet dames you’ve seen in the movies. They are absolute b?/#%€*. They will first tell you how you have no manners and treat the elderly badly. And then go on and give you the choicest of swear words.
  18. There is never a ticket checker during peak hours. They get scared because of the crowds which run into millions and billions. If you are a human-phobic, don’t even attempt travelling by train. This is not for you.
  19. Having said that, if you are a regular you will definitely find someone or a few who love you and will do anything to make your journey comfortable. They classify as your train friends. (Don’t ask, Indians have school friends, child hood friends, chaddi buddies- friends you’ve knows since you were in your diapers, college friends, work friends, train friends, taxi friends, bus friends, walking friends, yoga friends….oh gosh, the list is never ending).
  20.  When you try to get out, just wait at the door. You will be automatically be pushed out. Basically, DO NOT stand at the door until just before your station.

If you have any funny incidents while travelling on local trains in Bombay, please write down your account in the comments below. I would love to read them. Not to mention there will be a discussion of its own if there are a few.


23 thoughts on “Rules for Travelling by Local Train in Bombay

  1. 😂😂😂😂
    I was 7 when I first went to Bombay. My aunt used to stay in Andheri back then. So, they decide to take me to Churchgate by train one day. My cousin sister, aunt and me. I got into the train and it started moving.😂😂 I dint even know that it was moving until my cousin pulled me out. 😂😂


      1. 😂😂 that was my first and last train journey. I refused to go anywhere after that. Similar incident when I was riding as a pillion on my uncle’s scooter. A BEST bus came so near the scooter I screamed loudly. Everybody on the road started laughing. I never went to Bombay after that.🙈🙈


      1. We caught the next train, thank God it was almost empty. My aunt bought me some hair clips and toys (perks of almost getting lost on a train) 😉


      2. That’s good!! My neighbour once put her grandaughter in front of her as shield from a dog and then made her her favourite dish to pacify her. Haha!!! And the BEST drivers are the WORST on planet earth. You want to be at a distance of 100 yards from them. It’s just that the idea of personal space is pretty much non existent in Bombay!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Haha.. since my mum was not around, after that incident, I was treated like a princess for a day. 😉
        The traffic in Bangalore is pretty much same as that in Bombay these days. But BMTC drivers are a bit better and not very rash.


      4. It’s been a good 18 years since I have been to Bangalore. I trust things have changed drastically since. Back then there was never a mad rush. I might have to come to Bangalore and I’ve heard it takes two to three hours just to get to the city. I really dread that.


      5. Yes. There is a joke – my client left Hong Kong at the same time I left for the airport to pick him up. We both reached airport at the same time 😂😂😂😂 airport is like 100kms from the city! And the traffic is bad, especially near Whitefield and Marathahalli. But there are a lot of buses and taxis available, so traveling is convenient. Just like how it is in Bombay trains, don’t go out in Bangalore during peak hours. Only during Mondays, the peak hours start from 10am. 😂😂😂


      6. I think I was even asked not to tell my mum about this incident.😂😂😂 My mum sent me there for vacations because I still used to drink milk in a feeding bottle 😂😂😂 so may be it was a deal, get rid of her habit and we ll not talk about the train incident 😂


  2. I have never been to Mumbai but have heard so many stories about traveling by train.One which vividly sticks to my mind through years is the uncontrollable surge which takes you in throws you out of it. Correct me if I am ill informed.


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