Landing in Mumbai airport and going anywhere can be a sheer nightmare, unless you have a car pick-up arranged beforehand. For most people, it’s a time of utter desperation, irritation and anger (perhaps in that order) as cabs are JUST NOT available at peak hour. Unlike Bangalore, Hyderabad and Delhi where you have a fleet of AC Radio Cabs waiting outside, in Mumbai, you have to go through a lot of ‘procedures’ — into a queue for a coupon of 50 bucks, which is only possible IF there are cabs available, a rarity here despite ‘so many’ thousands of so called licenses issued!!
Here are the options & a trick learnt the hard way!
Meru, Easycab and Tab Cab: AC Radio Cabs. Pickup point is outside the exit … for 1B, turn right and then first left, under the arches; for 1A, go straight after exit, near the last pillar on the left. Try for a Meru Plus cab if available in case you want to visit multiple places in Mumbai and want the cab to wait for you at these points.
Private Transfers: Like Akbar travels and Carzonrent – ridiculous prices, but good cabs
Taxis – Yellow Top & Cool Cab: It gets worse … here is most part of the drama, nay trauma. You get into a queue for paying the pre-paid bill and even a longer queue for boarding the cab. Only in Mumbai can the authorities can be such jerks. It will take 30 mins minimum till you board from the 1st queue at 1B, that is, if you are lucky. Next will be the time to tolerate the rude and abusive taxi drivers – some refusals if the distance is short or if the direction does not suit the jerks. Turn left after exit at 1B and then right … you will see separate lines for Non AC and Cool Cabs. In 1A, its better – turn right after exit
Autos:It gets worse here. They are not on pre-paid and you are completely at their mercy. The queue is right after the taxi boarding area in 1B on the right side, slightly ahead. You just wait and pray that some auto driver comes there and agrees to ferry you to your destination. It’s very common to see autos hanging around just before the boarding point, fleecing desperate customers RIGHT in front of security staff and policemen. Outside 1A, its right next to the taxi boarding
There is no ‘other’ way to get a Radio Cab.
And now the trick: To bypass the mess at 1B and get a Cab / Auto quickly, if you are unlucky enough to land in 1B (which in 80% of the cases you will).
• First – you can pay extra (almost double) to the autos and cabs hanging around next to the boarding points.
• The other, which is what I regularly do, is walk to Terminal 1A. Its takes about 10mins (unless you are lugging heavy luggage) and the queue there is negligible. You can easily get an Auto as most of the autos that enter the boarding area turn right towards 1A rather than drive all the way to 1B. There is hardly any queue and you can easily get a cab as well paying the prepaid amount from the counter OUTSIDE 1A.
Sadly, after a tiring day and hovering around for over 45 mins in the Mumbai skies because of ATC delays, you land in the worst airport in the country by far, in terms of customer convenience. Sheer apathy and corrupt admin / cops makes your arrival into the ‘city of dreams’ such a nightmare … that like me, you dread each tour and wish you had a desk job.
During monsoons time, it gets worse … really really BAD. I have had to walk outside to the main road to catch a cab / auto many times. It’s a time when it just rains … easy money, for some !