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Mangalore's location in the Indian state of Karnataka makes it accessible by all forms of transport: road, rail, air and sea. It is the largest city in the Coastal Karnataka region, and is the only Karnataka city to have an International Airport and a Major Seaport.
Even though Mangalore's city bus service is dominated by private operators, with routes covering the full extent of the city and beyond, in recent days Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation is plying buses in multiple routes. There are two distinct sets of routes for the buses, with the city routes being covered by city buses, and the intercity routes being covered by service and express buses. There are also KSRTC JnNurm green colour city buses from State Bank bus stand. These buses travel to different parts of the city and its suburbs. Service buses essentially touch all towns and villages on the intercity route, while express buses reach their destination with very limited or no stops in between. A list of bus routes inside Mangalore can be found here.
Another mode for local transportation is the autorickshaw. The minimum cost charged by an autorickshaw up to 2 km is Rs 25. Meters are introduced in all autorickshaws plying inside the city and the suburbs and the customers are charged based on the exact cost displayed on the meter. However charges are 1.5 times the displayed reading between 9pm to 6am.
Major cab providers like Ola Cabs & Uber have also started their services in the city. Ola Cabs provides services in categories like Micro, Mini, Sedan, Share, Outstation. Ola also provides cabs to customers who are commuting to Mangalore Airport. Uber mainly provides the service UberGo. There are many local taxi operators who provide service within the city and beyond which usually is prepaid.
Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) runs the long distance bus services from Mangalore to other parts of the state. The Mangalore-Bangalore route is the most lucrative route and is equally served by public & private players.
The longest bus route served is the Mangalore - Ankola- Hubli- Belgaum- Pune- Mumbai bus route run by a number of private players and KSRTC. The journey is about 22 hours by normal buses & 16 hours by Volvo Buses.
Many private companies based out of Mangalore, Udupi, Bangalore also ply multiple buses between Mangalore and other cities on daily basis. SRS Travels, Ideal Travels, Sugama Tourists, Durgamba Motors, VRL being the popular operators. These operators provide services in different categories such as A/C Volvo Bus, Sleeper, Seater etc. There will be a huge hike in number of passengers during the festive seasons such as Mangalore Dasara, Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, Christmas which will also result in hike in bus fares unlike the KSRTC buses.
Five national highways connect Mangalore with various parts of Karnataka and India.
A metre gauge railway track was built through the Western Ghats in the east, connecting Mangalore with Hassan. The broad gauge track connecting Mangalore to Bangalore via Hassan is open for freight traffic since May 2006. While the movement of passenger traffic was supposed to start after December 2006, the inaugural train was eventually flagged off from Mangalore Central railway station for Bangalore only on 8 December 2007 by Union Minister for Railways Laloo Prasad Yadav.
When India gained independence, Mangalore was not connected to Mumbai by rail. The railway network established before independence terminated at Mangalore. Since then there had been a strong need to connect Mangalore to Mumbai and hence the Konkan Railway came into being. The project was completed in 1998 and since then the travel time to the north of the country has come down considerably and provides a convenient alternative for passengers.
Mangalore has direct trains to Chennai, Trivandrum, Kochi, Kollam(Quilon), Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Puducherry and Nagercoil through the Southern Railway and to Mumbai, Bhatkal, Karwar and Goa via the Konkan Railway. Navyug Express train connects Mangalore with Katra in Jammu and Kashmir. Thiruvananthapuram Rajdhani Express connects Mangalore with the national capital New Delhi.
The Mangalore Harbour provides a connection by sea to the rest of the world. Currently dry, bulk and fluid cargos are handled by the New Mangalore Port, providing an important gateway to the state of Karnataka. It is also the station for the Coast Guard and has a unit of CISF. This modern artificial harbour 10 km north of the Central Business District (CBD), is now India's eight largest cargo handling port.
Various cruise ships such as Regent Seven Seas, Norwegian Star, Oceania, Celebrity, Costa, AIDA, Nautica and Royal Caribbean International have visited the New Mangalore Port. Foreigners can enter Mangalore through the New Mangalore Port with the help of Electronic visa (e-visa). Cruise ships from Europe, North America and UAE arrive at New Mangalore Port to promote tourism around Mangalore.
Mangalore International Airport (IATA: IXE) is located near Bajpe, around 14 km north-east of the city .The new terminal which had commenced operations in mid-2009 is 8 km from the city. The Airport connects Mangalore with Indian cities such as Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam. The Airport also connects Mangalore with countries such as UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
Airport has seen double digit growth in passenger traffic after introducing international flights. As of 2014[update], the airport had a growth of 21.51 per cent in passenger handling during 2013–14, with 54 per cent growth in international traffic. It has handled 1,255,000 passengers in 2013–14 against 1,032,000 in 2012–13. The airport is expected to handle 900,000 passengers in 2025.