INDIA CROSSING THE RIVER GANGES Public TransportBuses are chaotic and can get terribly crowded. A better choice is the slow; trundling trams which circle the city and include stops at Park Circus; Sealdah Railway Station and Howrah. The Metro underground system has thankfully taken something of the congestion from the streets. The one track runs the length of the city; from Dum Dum train station (north) to Tollygunge (south) with stops including Kalighat; Park Street; Esplanade and Maidan. It is well run although often crowded (mainly during morning and evening rush hours); with segregated seats for men and women. There are still some hand-pulled rickshaws mainly in market areas and some around Sudder Street; although there is talk of eventually banning them altogether. Cycle-rickshaws operate in a few areas outside the city center. Auto-rickshaws (motorized three-wheelers) operate short (often fixed) journeys in city areas (not in the center) and are cheaper than taxis; agree the fare before you zoom away and seek advice from locals as to what you should be paying before you get in. Taxis. Taxis run 24 hours; Kolkata taxi drivers are amongst the easiest to deal with in India and will almost always put on the meter (if not; ask). The driver should produce a chart at the end of the trip to convert the showing on older meters to current charges - older meters are four times the amount; newer ones are twice. Simply flag a taxi on the street or ask for one at your hotel.Car Hire Hiring a car with driver can easily be arranged through hotels or travel agents; it is insane to attempt to drive yourself unless you’ve got solid experience here. As the reliability of car hire companies tends to change in Kolkata; it’s best to seek up-to-the-minute advice from your hotel; the tourist office; or a reputable travel agency.