Autorickshaw

Most autorickshaw drivers refuse to use their meters and quote astronomical fares that come down quickly with some firm haggling. Avoid paying upfront, and always establish the price before getting into a rickshaw. Rates rise by up to 50% from 11pm to 5am.

There are prepaid autorickshaw booths outside the CMBT and 24-hour prepaid stands on the south side of Central station and outside the north and south exits of Egmore station.

Tempting offers of ₹50 autorickshaw ‘city tours’ sound too good to be true. They are. You'll spend the day being dragged from one shop to another.

Bus

Chennai’s city bus system is worth getting to know, although buses get packed to overflowing at busy times.

Fares are between ₹5 and ₹15 (up to double for express and deluxe services, and multiplied by five for Volvo AC services).

Route information is on www.mtcbus.org.

Chennai Bus Routes

A1

Route

Central–Anna Salai–RK Mutt Rd (Mylapore) –Theosophical Society–Thiruvanmiyur

1B

Route

Parry's–Central–Anna Salai–Airport

10A

Route

Parry’s–Central–Egmore (S)–Pantheon Rd–T Nagar

11

Route

Rattan–Central–Anna Salai–T Nagar

12

Route

T Nagar–Pondy Bazaar–Eldham's Rd–Dr Radhakrishnan Salai–Vivekananda House

13

Route

T Nagar–Royapettah–Triplicane

15B & 15F

Route

Broadway–Central–CMBT

M27

Route

CMBT–T Nagar

27B

Route

CMBT–Egmore (S)–Bharathi Salai (Triplicane)

27D

Route

Egmore (S)–Anna Salai–Cathedral Rd–Dr Radhakrishnan Salai–San Thome Cathedral

32A

Route

Central–Vivekananda House

102

Route

Broadway–Fort St George–Kamarajar Salai–San Thome Cathedral–Theosophical Society

Routes operate in both directions.

Broadway – Broadway Bus Terminus, George Town

Central – Central Station

Egmore (S) – Egmore station (south side)

Parry's – Parry's Corner

Rattan – Rattan Bazaar Rd Bus Stop

T Nagar – T Nagar Bus Terminus

Car & Taxi

  • Both airport terminals have prepaid taxi kiosks. There are prepaid taxi stands outside the south side of Egmore and Central stations; a ride of 8km or 9km, such as to the CMBT, costs around ₹500.
  • Uber offers reliable, sensibly priced transport around town, as does the near-identical Ola Cabs app (for which you need an Indian mobile number). Rates to the airport are surprisingly cheap.

Chennai Metro Rail

Chennai Metro Rail is an incredibly efficient way to get around the limited areas it serves – fortunately, stops include major transport hubs such as the airport, CMBT, and Egmore and Central railway stations. At the time of research, the system was nearly complete and travel was easy and uncrowded (but the Delhi metro was once like this too!). If you plan on using it more than once, get a metro card (₹50 refundable deposit) that you can preload with credit. Trains run from 5am to 10pm; trips cost ₹10 to ₹70.

Train

Efficient, cheap suburban trains run from Beach station to Fort, Park (near Central station), Egmore, Chetpet, Nungambakkam, Kodambakkam, Mambalam, Saidapet, Guindy, St Thomas Mount, Tirusulam (for the airport), and on south to Tambaram. At Egmore station, the suburban platforms (10 and 11) and ticket office are on the station's north side. A second line branches south after Fort to Park Town, Chepauk, Tiruvallikeni (for Marina Beach), Light House and Thirumailai (near the Kapaleeshwarar Temple). Trains run several times hourly from 4am to midnight, costing ₹10.