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.
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
Central–Anna Salai–RK Mutt Rd (Mylapore) –Theosophical Society–Thiruvanmiyur
Parry’s–Central–Egmore (S)–Pantheon Rd–T Nagar
Rattan–Central–Anna Salai–T Nagar
T Nagar–Pondy Bazaar–Eldham's Rd–Dr Radhakrishnan Salai–Vivekananda House
15B & 15F
CMBT–Egmore (S)–Bharathi Salai (Triplicane)
Egmore (S)–Anna Salai–Cathedral Rd–Dr Radhakrishnan Salai–San Thome Cathedral
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.
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.