Thane (district) : Navi Mumbai
Navi Mumbai (or New Bombay)  is a beautiful city in Thane district to the Northeast of Mumbai. It was founded in 1971 as a satellite township to take the pressure off Mumbai city. In that, it has been only partially successful. Though many residents moved into Navi Mumbai, businesses did not. As a result, most people continue to commute to Mumbai. This has been changing in the past few years, with many IT and ITES industries setting up shop here.
Navi Mumbai is separated from the island of Mumbai by the Arabian sea and from Thane city by the Thane creek.
The city does not have an airport yet, though that will change in a few years when the new international airport to serve Mumbai will be built in Navi Mumbai. Work on City & Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra's airport project in Navi Mumbai has already started (as of June 2008), after some issues relating to land acquisition are sorted out and clearance of the Union Cabinet is obtained. The closest airport is in Mumbai. Once you get off, you can take a train, bus or cab to get here.
There are two train lines running through the city. These suburban railway stations are quite neater than those in mainland Mumbai. Navi Mumbai's railway stations are one of the very few stations in India which boast of beautiful infrastructure. The trains really are the best transportation option for Navi Mumbai, considering the region's high traffic and pollution.
Mumbai's Harbour Line has been extended to serve Navi Mumbai. The most important and crowded station is Panvel, but there are many stations within the city, including Sanpada, Juinagar, Nerul, Seawood, CBD Belapur, Kharghar, Mansarovar, Khandeshwar. The Panvel station is last station on Harbour line and Mumbai's Central Line also runs through Panvel railway station connecting Navi Mumbai to all over India.
There are two rail line that connects Thane Rly Stn from Vashi and Panvel. Service on this line has improved a lot now because of more trains added.
There are 5 suburban trains daily between CBD Belapur and Andheri (2 in the morning and 3 in the evening)
With respect to January 2011, the Central railway have also started 12 car coaches between Thane-Panvel, Thane-Vashi lines. There are also fast trains running on Thane-Panvel route.
Panvel-CST bound trains are soon be increased in carrying capacity from 9 to 12 coaches. This will ease the rush in the wee hours of the day in this line.
Navi Mumbai is well connected with Mumbai. There are two entry points from Mumbai, via Chembur/Mankhurd and via the Airoli exit on the Eastern Express Highway. It will cost you Rs. 30 in toll. From Thane, you can enter the city via the Thane-Belapur road, and in fact the Airoli exit joins the Thane-Belapur road. This road has numerous entry points into the city, so you need to confirm which one to take.
The Thane-Belapur road also links up to the Mumbai-Pune expressway.
Mumbai's BEST and Kalyan - Dombivli's KDMT bus services run a few buses into the city. BEST bus numbers in the 500 series are the ones to look for. Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport (NMMT) bus services run buses inside Navi Mumbai. NMMT has extended A/C bus service to Bandra & Borivali and is a very convenient way to travel to Mumbai as it has pressed latest Volvo buses in service. BEST has also started its A/C king Long buses from Navi Mumbai to Mumbai but the fares are higher and buses are not as comfortable as NMMT Volvo buses.
Mumbai's taxis are allowed into Navi Mumbai. Hired cars are also a good way of getting into the city. If you are travelling from Mumbai to Navi Mumbai most taxis will expect the passengers to pay the toll on the bridges connecting the cities, in addition to the metered fare.
Here is an advice - Most taxi/rickshaw meters are doctored, at least in Navi Mumbai. So, better go by branded cab services - Mega Cab (022-42424242), Meru Cab (022-44224422), Gold Cab etc. You would get them at 30-60 minutes notice, they are sparkling clean, air-conditioned, punctual, honest, GPS-equipped-monitored and thus far secure at anytime. You get an SMS saying driver name, mobile number and car number 30 min before scheduled departure. 03-box cars only - Indigo Marina and Maruti Esteem only. Call center 24 hours, and not much difference in the day or night charges. Charge Rs.15 per km point-to-point, with just Rs.2 extra for first km in the night time. Infact, domestic airport has a dedicated areas in the common taxi stand for Mega and Meru cabs. e.g. You would shell out Rs.450-600 from airport to navi mumbai depending upon where you go, whereas other cabs may fleece you to the tune of 1000-1600 easily while giving poor service.
Mumbai's auto-rickshaws are not allowed into Navi Mumbai. However, you can catch one right up to the toll gate at Airoli, walk across and catch one on the Navi Mumbai side. Similarly you can catch one to Mankhurd and then change over to a taxi to get to Vashi. But sometime if you are lucky , you can get auto rickshaw to makhurd from vashi also to vashi from mankhurd. Since these auto rickshaw come to mankhurd for gas filling since there are still less number of GAS stations in Vashi.
By car, you can go through the Vashi-Mankhurd Bridge built over the sea, just by paying the over-valued toll tax. To welcome you in Navi Mumbai, there is a beautiful toll plaza at the end of the bridge to welcome you which acts as the entrance gate of Navi Mumbai.
Navi Mumbai's main arterial road - called the 'Palm Beach Road' will help link you to the various nodes of Navi Mumbai viz Vashi, Nerul, CBD Belapur, Khargar, Panvel. It also links Navi Mumbai to Mhape and Thane. Palm Beach Road is a beautiful 4-lane highway with smooth tar roads and several exits to the nodes of the city.
Auto-rickshaw is a popular mode of travel within the satellite city. You will see 'rickshaw stands' at several busy corners of residential and commercial areas. The minimum fare is Rs. 15/- and most rickshaw drivers abide by the meter reading. But in case of doubt, please request for a meter card to confirm if you are being charged the correct amount.
Advice - If you wish to travel to any of the nodes of the city (say from Vashi to Nerul), most rickshaw drivers will ask for half or full return fare upfront. It is NOT mandatory to pay them the return fare and is entirely the discretion of the passenger whether or not he/she wishes to pay the fare. The rule of the land: if you do not wish to pay the return fare (or what the driver asks), you should not board the vehicle. Boarding the vehicle indicates your consent to pay the stipulated fare. Lastly, always let the DRIVER specify the markup on the fare. DO NOT ASK HIM IF HE WANTS A MARKUP TO GO TO ANY OF THE NODES!
Travel within any of the Nodes is always by meter and without a markup. So please do not accept any other price quoted by the driver.
The shopping market throughout Sector-17 is a good place to buy a variety of things at reasonable rates.
The food caters to all kinds of palates which includes Pan Indian (South, North, Central and Western Indian), of course Pizza Hut, Smokin Joes, Dominos and McDonalds, Chinese and other oriental and lots more. Some Indian food you could try includes Dosas, Idlis, Bhel, Sev Puri, Samosas, Ragda patties, Pulavs, Rajma Chawal and more. Indian food is really what food should be. There are more varieties of Indian food than probably any other cuisine in the world. After all that hot stuff you can try out the Indian slush called the ice gola in Kalakhatta flavor, which beats Pepsi and Coke hollow. You'll get those two in manned fountains at the food counters.
As the population and prosperity of the city rose through the years, it began to attract more criminal activity. Navi Mumbai's crime count jumped up from 2,763 in 2003 to 3,571 in 2004. One of the main reasons for the spurt in crime is continuous political meddling in police investigations and the grossly under-staffed police force.
There are very few police chowkies throughout Navi Mumbai with virtually non existent beat chowkies and traffic police. Criminal activities in Navi Mumbai include chain snatching, pickpocketing, cellphone snatching. These crimes are mainly confined to sparsely populated areas. Navi Mumbai has witnessed several vehicle thefts and burglaries involving unoccupied houses. Murder and armed robbery take place in significant numbers. Riots and community feuds take place, especially in the Ghansoli area. There have been several instances where mobs of frustrated native villagers have beaten innocent law abiding residents. Nerul is especially plagued by robbery. The number of accidents on the Palm Beach Road caused by are growing at an alarming pace due to non existent traffic police or security cameras. The absence of street lights on the highway between Belapur and Kharghar poses a continued danger to motorists. Shops and housing colonies often hire private security guards, as the police force is often overstretched. Businesses are expected to shut shop by 10pm. The Mumbai underworld has begun to take notice of the city, targeting the increasingly thriving businesses of cable operators, builders and real estate developers for extortion. On the whole, crime in Navi Mumbai is much less than in Mumbai.
Mumbai (Bombay) is a short train ride away from Navi Mumbai, and many people travel to Mumbai for the day.
The beautiful hill stations of Lonavla and Khandala are less than an hour's drive from Navi Mumbai.