On Getting Around:
India is huge, diverse, and always surprising. I believe I have tried every
mode of transportation the city has to offer (the public bus, private and
shared rickshaws, Uber, taxis, walking).
I love to [try] to take the bus and walk everywhere as it’s nice for my
pocket, my legs, and my mental health. Plus, there’s so much to see here
that it keeps me entertained, discovering different paths that get me to
the same destination and glimpses of lifestyles as I people watch. The
always an option; however, as it tends to run late, doesn’t always stop
where I need to go, or isn’t ideal/convenient. So I also take shared
rickshaws, or book a shared car online.
I’ve slowly discovered all of these ways of getting around, but I do wish I
knew these things earlier. Transportation is tied with food for being my
greatest expense(s), so being able to find cheaper ways of getting around
is not only fun but makes me feel incredibly immersed!
Here are some things I’ve learned so far on the subject. I wouldn’t be
surprised if I learn even more tips and facts in my last month here.
I hope this article will be helpful for someone in the future!
Traveling By Rickshaw:
The base fare on a rickshaw is ₹18 (in Pune). When getting in one, ask for
the meter price and note the starting number on the fare and distance
screens. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you see something isn’t as it
After 1.2 km (< 1 mile), the fare will go up ₹1 per minute of waiting time
(I.e. in stand still traffic) and ₹1 per .1 km
Price for autos vary, but a good standard to have is 4-5 km: ₹60+
8-10 km: ₹160+
Piaggos (shared rickshaws, 6-seaters) will cost you ₹5-30 depending on the
distance. These are usually found on routes that are fairly only straight,
such as from one end of a main road to the other, or they’re for big
destinations that follow the theme of little-to-no turns on a straight
route, such as Swargate, Khondwa, and Hadapsar (depending on where you’re
One way to spot them apart from the other rickshaws is they are boxier in
shape and bigger in size. They also tend to have multiple people in them
and the meter isn’t turned on (upside down).
Traveling by Bus:
TAKE THE BUS!! It’s fun, safe, and an adventure in itself!
The bus system can be stressful and messy, so it’s best to take it for long
trips with no set itinerary i.e going from opposite sides of the city to
spend the day out. It can also be useful for trips you are already
comfortable with and know your way around for.
You will need to know Hindi numbers and the alphabet (only in some cases).
The way you know which bus to take is by the number or the name on the
Carrying small bills (10-50) is a good idea, as fares run from ₹5-25+. I
love the bus here (PMPL) but be prepared for there to be limited seating
and space, and to be either super early or late to things, depending on
what time you leave and on Pune traffic. Also know that there aren’t direct
busses for every location you want to go to. So just take a bus to the
closest stand/stop and transfer to another, or walk (you shouldn’t have to
walk more than 30 mins) after hopping off a bus.
Traveling by walking:
Walking is fun for me. If I have the energy and time for it, I walk. I used
to walk 1.5 hours home from school until I discovered I could walk 15
minutes and then take a shared auto, but now I know I can walk 10 minutes
and take a bus instead! I try to walk at least 15-30 minutes a day because
my entire body’s health from head to toe needs the physical activity. It’s
also entertaining as there’s always something happening outside.
Additionally, I have never felt negatively after. I may have saw something
new, like last week when I saw an obese dog going in circles trying to
scratch this one spot on his side. It was hilarious. Or I had a fun
“adventure” such as almost getting hit by a motorcycle? Having to run
through traffic?? FUN!!!! Or just getting my endorphins going and breaking
a healthy sweat.
Walking is also eco and financially friendly! Instead of taking a rickshaw
for 5-15 minutes, I walk for 20-45 minutes. I just pop in my headphones,
talk on the phone, or even read as I walk (I’m really good at multitasking.
I just try not to be stupid about it.. like when I’m crossing the street or
not 100% sure where I’m going).
Walking is a habit I have created while here, and it’s one I hope to
continue with for the rest of my life… especially at home where I have
access to a car!
On Useful Apps:
Google maps will become your best friend. When you’re new to the city, it’s
best to have it on and running for the first few trips that you make,
especially if it’s via hailing a rickshaw. This way you can ensure you’re
taking the best route
Apple Maps is ok too, but Google is more accurate. It also tells you when
the busses run and which bus to take for where you want to go. It’s my
The app Ola (India’s Uber) is best for ordering autos (rickshaws)
Uber is best for shared rides or if you need an actual car
Both are useful for long distances and at night when you need a reliable
ride and don’t want to worry about needing to have maps open.
I also always compare prices between the two when I choose to use them, as
they sometimes have a difference of ₹3-100 at times for the same drive and
mode of transportation.
That’s all I have for now. I’m still learning new things every day, and
switching up how I get to places all the time. Sometimes I make mistakes
that cost me time, money, and my mind. But as long as I got where I needed
to be safely, I’m okay with it as it’s a lesson I probably needed to
If you ever find yourself in Pune, be safe while exploring the city and
learning whatever works for you. Just don’t forget to have fun!