Getting around in Pune is often an exercise in patience. The city's transport infrastructure hasn't been able to keep up with its rapid expansion. As a result, traffic tends to be heavy, especially during rush hour, while buses, trains and the metro are usually packed.
With a limited public transport system, most expats in Pune resign themselves to travelling by car, despite heavy traffic. Some expats find that hiring a skilled and experienced local driver can go towards relieving the stress of the daily commute.
Public transport in Pune
Buses are widely used in Pune and are run by Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML). The network is extensive, but buses tend to be crowded and uncomfortable.
Alongside the regular bus service, PMPML also operates a rapid-transit system known as the Rainbow Bus Rapid Transit System (RBRTS). While these buses are just as crowded as regular buses, they're faster because they use dedicated bus lanes.
Currently, the metro has two lines, with an additional line under construction. Line 1 (the purple line) runs from PCMC to Swargate, and Line 2 (the aqua line) runs from Vanaz to Ramwadi. Line 3 (the red line) is planned to run from Quadron to Civil Court.
Apart from Line 3's construction, expansions are also planned for Line 1 and 2. The plan is for all three lines to eventually connect to Civil Court Station. The metro runs seven days a week, from 8am to 9pm or 10pm.
The suburban train system is operated by Central Railway and connects Pune to Lonavala. It consists of just one line with 17 stations, but the government is considering extending this.
Taxis in Pune
Taxis are plentiful in Pune and can be booked in advance or hailed off the street. We highly recommend booking in advance from a trusted taxi company, as taxis off the street will often try to charge foreigners inflated prices.
Ride-hailing services such as Uber and Ola are available in Pune. Expats often prefer these services because they are cheaper and more convenient than regular taxis.
Auto-rickshaws (motorised three-wheelers) are a common sight in Pune. They're speedier and cheaper than taxis but can make for a hair-raising experience.
Driving in Pune
Some expat employees are fortunate enough to have drivers provided to them by their employers. Those without this perk sometimes find this a worthwhile cost to bear on their own, while others prefer the flexibility and freedom of driving themselves.
New arrivals will be able to drive on their licence from their home country for a while but should start arranging an exchange for an Indian licence as soon as possible. Depending on where they hail from, expats may be able to do a direct exchange, while in other cases additional practical and theoretical testing is required before a licence can be issued.
Cycling in Pune
The natural scenery of Pune and surrounds makes for enjoyable recreational bicycle rides. However, a lack of cycling infrastructure makes it impractical and dangerous to cycle around in the city.
►To find out about regional and national travel, see Transport and Driving in India
Are you an expat living in Pune?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Pune. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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