This strikes me when I meet a friend in Pune, whom I haven’t seen for a little over 6 months. While both of us are based in Mumbai, plans to meet or head out for a movie rarely works out. But fast forward to Pune, where I would spend a day or two in 3 months and she would spend 4 days a month visiting her home, its so much easier to catchup for us when these dates overlap and both of us are in Pune! Weird and we sure laughed at it.
<rant> But then we sure can’t ignore the fact that its the hour and half or two hours of travel to and fro that comes in our way here. And for me a little more than the time involved, its the poor conditioned auto-rickshaws (if you at all find one) or the super uncomfortable Fiat Taxis that kills the enthusiasm of going out of the suburbs.
Screenshot of a chat with a Mumbai Friend:
I am perhaps one of the most irregular members of the Kala Ghoda Gelato Tweetup where a few good friends catchup on the first of every month. More than taking a train from Andheri to Churchgate for the tweetup, its the worry of getting a auto ride to Andher stn is my issue.
I am often surprised when my friend from Bangalore (Kesava) visits Mumbai and plans his meetings something like this: a) Breakfast at Belapur, b) Lunch at Dadar, c) Post lunch meeting at my office in Jogeshwari and then d) a evening trip to Thane before meeting us for dinner back @ Andheri.
A tourist like him can manage that, but for me the everyday wait of over 20 mins just to get an autorickshaw to office, is sure frustrating and super unproductive. One reason why I might well settle out of Mumbai (may be not far but in Pune), would be the serious headache traveling here is.
Would a car + driver make things easy? Perhaps. But then $$ Q it is! I am doing a little calclulations and while the results are yet to come, I have a feeling that after the recent auto fare price hike in Mumbai, a car+driver might be more affordable for me.
Auto drivers have admitted to me that they make more than Rs 1000 on an average day (if they own the auto) or Rs 500+ if they rent an rickshaw (all thanks to the obnoxious price hike).Do I have a problem with that? No! But then I expect to get good service. A ride to my destination without begging to autos. Autos that are properly conditioned (ever noticed how badly they maintain them? shockups? pollution?). </rant>
If I am to sum up. Chat, SMSes and emails are only this good. Annkur loves to meet friends offline. And I would do my best to do that. Starts with taking sundays off work and meeting you : )
Update (April 2013): Title changed to reflect ‘commuting’ instead of traveling. Also, I got a car last year. It is far more economical indeed.