Getting around in Kolkata pt 2
This is a continuation of the previous post on Getting around in Kolkata. In this part I’m covering Buses and the Metro.
- Can take you long distances
- Faster then a taxi, but slower then a rickshaw
- Often overcrowded (especially in the morning)
You need to find a money collector, tell him the name your destination and depending on the situation, also the name of the station you were picked up.
The money collector is the guy with a handful of bills, bus tickets and a messenger bag on his shoulder. He might also be hanging by the entrance of the bus and shouting the names of the stations the bus stops at.
There is a difference if you pay him just as you enter the bus or later. If you pay him soon then you only need to tell him your destination, but if you pay him later then you might also need say which station you were picked up from.
After you buy the ticket, be sure to keep it with you, because the collector might as you to buy a ticket when you’ll be getting out of the bus at your stop.
The price of the tickets depends on what length is the distance you’re travelling. Some buses have a paper with ticket prices so that you could check by yourself, but most of the time you’ll have to trust the collector. I don’t know anyone who knows how to buy tickets in advance, but I saw an Indian person buy more than 10 tickets at once, so I assume it’s possible.
Also, if your destination is far it is advised that you try to get to either one end of the bus rather than stand around by the entrance. You don’ t really need to remember this, because either the money collector or other people will remind you to do this, but knowing this in advance will help you to avoid some confusing situations.
The bus routes and work hours can be found here.
The main concern is the amount of people. If the bus is full, your fragile electronics (e.g., laptop, camera) will have a hard time not getting squished. Also this is the perfect place for pick-pockets to do their magic, so it’s advised that you keep your wallet in the front pocket, and your bags, and backpacks in front of you.
- Can take you very long distances
- Very fast
- Very cheap
- The stations aren’t always in comfortable locations
- Often you need to wait in lines to buy a token (unless you have a card)
- Even more overcrowded then the bus
You either need to buy a token at a register in the station or you can buy a rechargeable card. To buy a token you only need to know the name of your destination and that you can get from a list in the station. The token is valid for 2 hours and works only for entering the metro through the station you are at and exiting from the destination (you might also be able to exit at a closer station, but definitely not the further one).
It’s advised that you buy a metro card if you intend to use the metro often, because it will save you time and give you the freedom to get out in any station, unlike the token. Also the card could be kept as a souvenir.
The metro routes and work hours can be found here. An important thing to remember is that on Sundays the metro starts working from 14:35.
You have to watch out for the same things like the bus, except the amount of people is even bigger then the bus.
For Auto-rickshaws and Taxis go here: Getting around in Kolkata pt 1