Delhi has more private vehicles than Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata put together. A consequence, surely, of the lack of public transport options. But the hectic activity of the last few years has resulted in a transport network that is actually beginning to look respectable. We’ve taken a good, long look at the whole and put together this guide to help you get around Delhi.

Autorickshaws

Biometric cards and GPS in autorickshaws? This fantasy-like scenario is likely to unfold soon, if the State Transport Ministry’s ambitious plans succeed. Other changes include uniforms with Public Service Vehicle badges for autowalas and a nameplate with the licence number and driver/owner’s details attached to the back of the driver’s seat.

How much to pay Rs 19 for the first two kilometres, then Rs 6.50/km. Connaught Place to the new airport terminal T3 will cost Rs 136, while the short haul from New Delhi Railway Station to Connaught Place will cost Rs 19.

Buses

The world’s largest eco-friendly bus service just got greener: on the agenda is a cycle-rickshaw feeder service along the existing BRT corridor from Moolchand Hospital to Ambedkar Nagar. Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) is also phasing out the infamous Blueline buses, installing GPS devices in all Delhi buses and toying with the idea of launching a Wi-Fi enabled Volvo bus service from T3 to 17 locations.

Check out the DTC route guide at www.delhigovt.nic.in. You can also buy route maps from any of the DTC pass sections (see ‘Passes’).

Fares Rs 5-15 for non-AC buses, Rs 10-25 for AC buses.

Passes A General All-Route Pass, valid for a month, comes for Rs 800 (non-AC buses). There are daily (Rs 40-50), weekly (Rs 280-350) and fortnightly (Rs 560-700) passes available as well. Download the form at www.dtc.nic.in, fill it up and collect your pass at one of the 35 computerised pass sections listed on the site. Call 011-28844192, 23317600 for details.

The Metro

The poster child of public transport in the city, Delhi Metro has been chosen to be the bearer of the Baton for CWG 2010. Starting September 30, the Baton will wind its way across the host city for three days, ending with a cultural performance every evening. Besides, if things are on track, by the end of the month, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) would have completed over 125km and 107 stations in four-and-a-half years—a new world record.

Routes

Blue line Dwarka Sector 9 to Yamuna Bank (Southwest to East); operational

Green line Inderlok to Mundka (North to Northwest); operational

Orange line Airport Express Line: New Delhi Railway Station to Indira Gandhi International Airport and Dwarka (Central to Southwest); opens in September

Red line Dilshad Garden to Rithala (East to West); operational

Violet line Central Secretariat to Badarpur (Central to South); opens in September

Yellow line Jahangirpuri to Central Secretariat; operational. Jahangirpuri to HUDA City Centre; fully operational once Central Secretariat to Qutb Minar becomes operational in September

Fares Rs 8-30, depending on the distance. Check the online fare calculator (www.delhimetrorail.com). The ride from New Delhi Railway Station to the airport is likely to cost Rs 150.

Travel cards DMRC also offers Smart Cards valid for one year from the date of recharge. These are available in denominations of Rs 50 (plus refundable deposit of Rs 50) and can be recharged up to Rs 800. Souvenir collectors can also ask for the Travel Card Keychains. Tourists also have the option of a one-day (Rs 50) or three-day (Rs 200) card, with a refundable deposit of Rs 50, that offers unlimited rides.

Feeder buses Currently, GPS-enabled 20-seater buses ply on 18 routes. Visit www.delhimetrorail.com for details. Tickets Rs 7-10.

24-hour helpline 128128

Metro museum If you’re at the Patel Chowk station, visit the museum, which traces the four years of Metro history.

Look out for Interactive touch-screen ‘guide to Delhi’ kiosks will be installed at 25 underground stations, including Rajiv Chowk (Connaught Place), JLN Stadium, Vishwavidyalaya and Chandni Chowk.

Taxis

A fleet of around 3,000 non-AC radio cabs are expected to start plying before the Commonwealth Games. At Rs 10/km, they will give other options a good fight.

The black-and-green cabs These charge Rs 20 for the first kilometre, Rs 11 thereafter; A/C taxis charge an additional Rs 2/km; waiting charge Rs 30 per hour; night charge 25 per cent extra.

Radio cabs Most of these charge Rs 15/km and are air-conditioned. Night, parking and waiting charges are extra and vary; and toll taxes are extra.

Quick Cabs Cheaper than most at Rs 9.5/km; 45333333, www.quickcabs.in Meru Cabs 44224422; www.merucabs.com Mega Cabs 41414141, www.megacabs.com Easy Cabs 43434343, www.easycabs.com Delhi Cabs and For She Cabs (women drivers only) 44222222, www.orixindia.com

Car rentals Carzonrent (www.carzonrent.com), Hertz (www.hertz.com), Avis (www.avis.co.in) and Eco (www.ecorentacar.com) all offer self-drive (from Rs 2,000/day plus Rs 25,000-60,000 as security deposit) and chauffeur-driven (from Rs 1,000) cars.

Trains

Ajmeri Gate (the east side of New Delhi Railway Station) got a Lutyens-inspired ‘facelift’ late last year and the Paharganj Gate on the west side is getting one now. The blueprint includes four separate lanes to control the chaotic traffic pouring in and out of the station, a waiting room that’s five times the size of the old one, a new foot-over-bridge, stainless steel furniture and interiors, four new pre-paid booths for taxis and radio cabs, and a larger parking enclosure. It should be ready this month, as should the City Airport Terminal on the Airport Express Line.

Helpline From landline or mobile phones, call 139. You can also SMS to 139 for ticket status, and SMS to 139 for arrival/departure enquiry.

Prepaid autos  There are prepaid booths on the Paharganj as well as Ajmeri Gate sides.

Online reservation  Visit www.irctc.co.in.

Look out for A squad of the Tourist Police Guides will be stationed outside Ajmeri Gate and Paharganj terminals between October 3 and 14. The guides will have literature on CWG Games and important tourist sites in Delhi.

Complaints

Register bus, taxi, autorickshaw and Metro feeder buses complaints at 23010101 (Delhi Traffic Police Transport Helpline) and 42400400 (for DTC services).

Delhi’s new airport

It can swallow the airports of six other metros, handle 12,800 bags an hour, park 6,500 cars and check in passengers at 168 counters. But what’s just as impressive as the new T3 is its website (www.newdelhiairport.in). With 3-D interactive maps to let you figure out where to shop and eat and how to navigate the space if you’re lost, the website handholds you through the 5.4 million sq ft of the airport. Also check the website for the latest airport shopping promotions and deals.

Terminals All international flights at T3, some domestic flights will later be shifted here. All domestic flights at T1D.

Helpline 0124-3376000

Prepaid Taxis Both terminals provide prepaid booths for the kaali-peelis and for radio cabs (and, yes, cabs are easily had).

Did You Know?

Delhi has a Ring Railway network that runs parallel to the Ring Road. Flagged off in 1982 for the Asian Games, the network failed to become the mass transport solution that it was meant to be. However, recently, there was talk — though no concrete plan — of running steam locomotives on the existing track. The steam locomotives will now run on the Rewari-Delhi stretch before the CWG Games.

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