Somehow in the world there is not a good stereotype about Indian metro. Because people often confuse it with cheap Indian trains and spread the word (and pictures) calling it Indian metro. I know on my own experience that modeling agencies in Delhi too don’t recommend the models to use the metro, scary them about that it is not safe and that they will get lost in it…So, many foreigners even living in Delhi for long, actually afraid to use the metro. But I want to break this stereotype because I totally disagree (I have used Delhi metro really many times). I like it more than using cabs often (Indians will be shocked to read this) and here is why:
Also check: Guide on other public transport in Delhi
- It’s modern and technological;
- It’s actually much newer than the metro in Russia, suppose (but, of course, I understand that in Russia metro system was made in the 50-80s of the last century, and in Asia not so much time ago);
- It’s surprisingly clean (even though there is almost no dustbins) – it’s forbidden to litter, eat and drink inside of the coaches;
- It is chilly inside of Delhi metro – there are air conditioners everywhere (after Delhi’s crazy hot weather you will like it);
- All the announcements in Delhi metro happen on English and Hindi. But even the person who doesn’t know both the languages, HARDLY can be lost in there;
- The names of the stations are also not complicated (not like in China, at least) and there are electronic tables showing the stations change in every coach;
- The interchange stations also have very easy functioning: first, you don’t need to go very far to change the line (in Moscow it’s often far), secondly, there are footprint stickers in the color of the lines on the floor – see the picture below);
- There is no wi-fi in Delhi metro (like in Moscow, suppose) but the connection usually doesn’t go for long and internet on your phone will mostly work fine;
- There are coaches only for women! (read about it below);
- There are many workers in the system so you feel safe;
- It has big number of lines and stations (so the system is developed);
- Trains come often (every 2-3 minutes);
- Its’ cheap! (about it read below);
- In metro you will not stand in crazy Delhi traffic jams, of course;
- In metro you will not be cheated with prices, you don’t need to bargain, of course, like with rickshaw and auto-rickshaw drivers. Also you will not be taken in circles by driver because he doesn’t know the way (or just wants to earn more like this) – foreigners can face it with auto-rickshaw and cabs drivers more often than Indians;
- In the subway unlike in rickshaws, beggars will not stick to you (and touch you) and so won’t the transgenders (who can also threaten to show their genitals) – they simply are not allowed to go in metro;
- The Delhi metro system is generally similar to the metro system of other countries, therefore, in my opinion, this is the easiest transport FOR FOREIGNERS to use in Delhi. People who tell you that you can be lost in metro, clearly greatly underestimates your mind abilities….
The subway in Delhi is mostly underground, although not all the stations are. In some places Delhi metro walls are also decorated with mosaics or other forms of art (but not so much).
The prices in Delhi metro depend on the number of stations you have traveled. Important notice: don’t throw away your token before going out – in Delhi metro you need to use it not only for the entry but for the exit as well! If you have thrown your token, you will be charged additionally for going out. Except for buying single-use tokens every time (and staying in the queue), you can also have a long-term metro card and just recharge it later on (but initially you will have to recharge it for a minimum amount of Rs.200 – $2.8). If you are coming to Delhi for a few days, you barely will spend it. One ride in Delhi metro costs from Rs.10 ($0.14) to Rs.50 ($0.7) (check the table below). And Rs.50 is generally from one end of Delhi to another. Foreigners usually do stay near to the center and most of the sights won’t be that far that you could spend 50 rupees in metro… But if you are coming for long, then I totally do recommend to buy a card – it will save you a lot of time. In Delhi metro you can’t buy a card for some exact number of trips like you can in some countries.
“Women only” coach:
The thing that is unusual normally for foreigners in Delhi metro is that there is a separate coach for women – always the first coach of the train. It is marked on the platform where it will stop – the pink sign “Women only”. Men are not allowed in that coach. Women can go in the common coaches as well, for them there are even special seats in there – not just for the elders, pregnant women or women with children like in other countries but generally for women. But in shared coaches, women have a risk that someone might try to touch them in inappropriate body parts. So I do recommend to female foreigners being in Delhi to go to female coaches – unless you aren’t traveling by metro with a male/ in a group. If you are afraid that the women coach will be overly crowded because there is only one such coach and are several common ones, it’s not so, but usually the opposite: women in India can still be seen less in public places and transport than men. The reason for this is that many Indian women do not work and stay at home – mostly young women work or study in India these days. For me it is strange that there are female coaches only in the subway, and not in trains, that there are no buses and cabs only for women, for example, knowing how Indian men can react on women.
Apart from female coach, in India (like in some other traditional countries), the security system is separated for men and women. But it is so not just in the metro, in the shopping malls, the airports, etc. as well. In Delhi metro the bag check is common, people leave their bags and after go to separate cabins for the metal detector checking. Female cabins always have female officers, obviously.
Also check: Guide on intercity transport in India
Disadvantages and advises:
Indians (even men) don’t consider subway a good transport. Why? Well, they say that there are too many people (because cabs are cheaper in India than in many other countries, some people actually take them every day). So metro is kind of “not prestigious” too. Well, in the mornings and evenings – yes, metro is usually overly crowded (just like in any other big city). The problem is that some people in India can actually have a really strong smell of sweat, they can also totally openly burp (in my experience, Indians do it a lot, unfortunatelly), etc. kind of things – so, yes, Indians themselves don’t like it. But with cab driver in India you can face the same things actually.
Another thing is that, in Delhi from the metro station you will still have to take a rickshaw/cab usually – just for a short distance. Unlike in Moscow, suppose, people here don’t try to locate everything preferably in walking distance from metro stations, don’t usually mention how much time you would have to walk, etc. Also, in Delhi you will barely even find a sidewalk to walk by….
Amusing thing for me in Delhi is “adjusters”: Indian people have a sharing mentality in many things actually and the concept of personal space is more blurred here. So they, coming inside of metro and seeing there is no free seat, just ask complete strangers to move closer to each other in order to sit as well. Sometimes there is no space at all but people still try to fit in (even if they are not skinny). It’s amusing to imagine such thing happening in my country 🙂 But in India people do it all the time. I know, Indians would say about the number of population, but here it’s not about it because Delhi has 19 million people and Moscow has 12.4 + in Moscow literally everyone uses the metro (almost all the women work too, not just mostly young) – so the number of people in the metro would be quite similar.
However, the subway also happens to be empty sometimes, especially if you get into it on the far from the center stations. And the subway in Delhi runs, as I have mentioned, often.
Advice: if you need to go far, check on the electronic board if the train actually goes till your station – usually Delhi trains go till the last stations of the lines but sometimes they don’t.
Another advise: If you need to change the line, you can as well use the metro app on your phone. I am using the Delhi Metro Rail app. There you can find not only a metro map but to calculate a route between the stations as well.
Cover picture source: