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From : laptop30
To : saintly
Rating :
Message Status : Public

[08-15-2000] laptop30 : I'll be traveling throughout India for a month in January. Can you please describe the forms of public transporation that will be available to me, and comment on the relative saety of each for a woman traveling alone
[08-15-2000] saintly :
I can think of several public transportation means you might consider:

In most towns and cities, you should be able to choose between Taxis, Trishaws and the Bus. Taxis you know already. Trishaws are like three-wheeled motorcycles with a plastic canopy overhead. They are cheaper than Taxis, tend to seat two passengers at most and go wherever you want. Busses tend to be used quite a lot (packed full in many cases). Between towns, you can take the trains as public transit, but they are also packed full of people. If you don't mind squeezing in, these are about as safe as you can get.

I don't know what your conceptions are, or if you have been to India before. Although many people live far below the standard of living you may be used to, respect for others is very high. I would say that if you are being threatened by someone in a public place, you are *more* likely to get assistance from others than in the US (particularly a US major city). While walking any city (anywhere) alone is not the safest option for women or men, I wouldn't be overly worried.

So long as you are courteous and make an effort to treat others with respect (which I'm sure you already do), expect a warm welcome. As a tip, depending on where you go, you may attract beggars unless you are with a friend or someone who knows the area (i.e., not an obvious foreigner). Giving them money won't make them go away.

Hope that helps!
[08-15-2000] saintly : As a note about taxis and trishaws: make sure you get an estimate first and make sure the meter is actually running.

There are several other ... exotic ... transportation methods you might be able to use depending on where you go; riding in the back of lorries, ox-carts or human-pulled carts of some sort. They tend to be available in more remote locations and should be considered like a safer form of hitch-hiking.

Obvious foreigners are more likely to be susceptible to some form of petty theft or fraud than violence. The police are especially responsive to any actions against tourists and visiting business.
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