I remember my first flight was an Air Deccan ATR aircraft from Mumbai to Goa back in 2004-05. Considering that kids today take their first flight even before they open their eyes, I know I was too late. But thanks to my love for travelling, I took a lot of flights in the last couple of years from Hyderabad. I won’t deny, Hyderabad airport has grown a lot – even now there’s construction going on.
Rajiv Gandhi International Airport is one of the finest airports in the country and like most good ones, it is located far from the city. Either I ride to Hyderabad Airport on my two-wheeler to take the Hyderabad Airport Bus. Because, unlike Delhi, there’s no Metro to Airport yet and the Hyderabad airport cabs service is bad.
Being a (frequent)flier, I thought I could share some tips and my experience of commuting to Hyderabad Airport by bus. Hence, in this post, I’ll talk about why Hyderabad airport bus service is better than the airport cabs.
Rajiv Gandhi International Airport
RGIA has been rated as one of the top airports in the world. Before this one became operational in 2008, Begumpet airport served the needs. Thanks to the growth of the city, RGIA now caters to a score of national and international fliers. It has some of the finest services in terms of eateries, convenience stores, lounges etc. The Plaza Premium Lounge at RGIA is one of my favourite ones. There’s a Ratnadeep supermarket at the airport which is quite helpful. Further, taking inspiration from The Quad at Bengaluru Airport, they’ve set up a food court which is massive and a great place to hang out too.
It isn’t a bad airport at all. The express check-in service is one of the best and quickest I’ve experienced in India. If you are having only cabin baggage, you can straight away get to security and board the flight.
If there’s any problem with the airport, it’s the airport cab service. If you’re a Hyderabadi, you will agree with me. The service has gone to the trenches especially in the last few months. The situation is such that it has been made to the newspapers multiple times and even the airport’s Twitter handle had suggested people use other means of transport to reach the airport.
What’s wrong with Hyderabad Airport cabs?
The distance. RGIA is located so far from the city (not like the ~50kms I had to travel from Arekere to Bengaluru airport) What that does is that most of the cab services like Ola, Uber, Meru etc charge exorbitant amounts. (Maximum I had paid was Rs 1800 just because there was no other option) Many cab drivers will simply cancel the ride upon learning about the destination and that the payment would be online.
There have been instances where I’ve been asked to pay up to Rs 300 extra over the price quoted on the Ola/Uber app. That is because drivers say they “won’t get any ride” back from the airport. While it may be a concern for them, why should I pay?
Even when you are coming from the airport to the city, there’s a huge mess. You’ll have drivers pouncing on you like you’re at a railway station. Though there are dedicated Ola, Uber, Meru pickup points, you don’t get cabs there or have to wait for a long time. If there is a cab, he doesn’t want to go to your location.
Many times, I had been asked to cancel the ride on the app and pay them in cash instead. And there had been reports that some people were even asked to pay extra in the middle of their rides.
So, trust me you’re lucky if you get an airport cab at a good price and without any hassles. And owing to the increasing number of cancellations in the last few years, the Hyderabad airport bus has become my go-to way to reach the airport.
Pushpak – Hyderbad Airport Bus
My first time using the airport bus ever was in Bengaluru. After the airport moved to Devanahalli, a bus was the best way to reach the airport. Similarly in Hyderabad, we have the Pushpak airport liner. There’s a fleet of low floor, diesel and electric buses that ply on multiple routes in the city that lead to the airport. The connectivity is pretty good as it connects most of the important areas like Gachibowli, HiTech City, Kukatpally, Banjara Hills and Punjagutta to name a few.
Over the last few months, I’ve travelled extensively in the Hyderabad airport bus and my experience has largely been good. I take the bus from Paryatak Bhavan, Punjagutta most often. From here it takes be 45mins on average to reach the airport.
After multiple cancellations by Ola & Uber to @RGIAHyd Airport, finally someone agreed to drop me without without any questions – Pushpak Airport Liner.@tsrtc @tsrtcmdoffice— Atulmaharaj (@Atulmaharaj) November 18, 2021
Only wish if there was an option to pay digitally. Lucky I had cash 🙈#Hyderabad pic.twitter.com/ca6REVBIla
Pros and Cons of Hyderabad Airport Bus Service
When I say that the Hyderabad airport bus is my preferred way to commute, it doesn’t mean that it is the best. It has its fair share of pros and cons too.
- Timing & Frequency: There’s a bus almost every hour starting from 4 in the morning to 11 in the night. No matter which stops you are alighting from, you’ll not have to wait longer for the bus. You can check out the current Hyderabad Airport Bus Time Table.
- Non-Stop service: The is a dedicated airport bus service and doesn’t stop anywhere except the dedicated points. So can be sure that you will reach in time.
- Clean Buses with dedicated luggage space: The buses I’ve been on have been clean most of the time. Plus the ability to carry extra luggage with a dedicated luggage space is pretty good.
- Affordable: When compared to airport cabs, the Hyderabad Airport Bus is extremely affordable. It ranges from anywhere between 200 to 300 depending on the route you take. For instance, it costs Rs 265 from my Paryatak Bhavan to Airport (32 kms) while cabs on an average charge about 600-800 (which goes up to 1300-1500 as well)
- Discounted Fares: I learned about the Hyderabad Airport bus discount during my last trip. If you are returning within 10 days, you can buy a return ticket while boarding the bus and get a 10% discount. You need to keep the ticket intact upon return. Also, if you are travelling in a group of 3 or more, you can get a 10% discount too. I don’t know whether you’ll get 10 or 20% if you are travelling in a group of more than 3 and returning within 10 days.
- Timings: These buses ply at a fixed time and frequency. Hence you need to plan well. There might be times that you have to leave extremely early for the airport just because there’s no bus at the timing you want. Further, while coming RGIA, you might have to wait upto an hour at times which can be irritating. (My last flight last month, I paid K to the cab as I was told to wait for an hour for the bus)
- Cash payment only: Currently the Hyderabad Airport bus accepts cash payments only at all boarding points. You need to pay exact change which can be troublesome. Online payment is available only when you’re coming from the airport.
- Boarding/Dropping Points: While the connectivity is good, there are high chances that there’s no point close to where you are. Even in my case, I have to travel about 4kms to reach the nearest boarding point. So that adds more time (and money) to your overall travel
Hyderabad Airport Bus is better
I’ve put forward my experiences driving to the Hyderabad Airport. If I’m flying out only for a day or two and have only a backpack, I’ll take my Activa and park it at the airport which is the cheapest option of all. If I’m having some luggage or I’m out for a few days, I always prefer the bus. Lastly, when I’m travelling with family and have luggage, there’s no option but to take a cab. In such situations, I add another 30-45mins in the total travel time because I know I won’t get a cab on the first try.
Hence among all the options available, I feel the Hyderabad Airport bus is way better than the cab service in Hyderabad. Let me know if you need any further input on this or if you too have faced this issue. Drop-in your comments below, tweet to me at @Atumlaharaj, DM me on Instagram or Get In Touch.