Local bus services are the cheapest way to get around Thiruvananthapuram. There are city buses run by government (KSRTC) and private companies. Most of these are very crowded during peak hours. Route descriptions on the buses are mainly in Malayalam. Route numbers are displayed. Pick pocketing is not very common. The government city buses are painted red with a yellow patch, and the private city buses are blue. Fast passenger buses run by KSRTC are also painted blue and are named Ananthapuri Fast. The city services of KSRTC operate from six depots, namely the City depot, Vikas Bhavan, Peroorkada, Pappanamcode, Kaniyapuram and Vellanad. The central city bus terminal is located at East Fort (Kizhakkekotta), near Padmanabha Swamy temple. The Central and Inter State bus station is located 1 km away at Thampanoor. KSRTC operates AC Volvo services connecting various important places. If you have a little time to spend you can try the new mode of transportaion. KSRTC operates AC buses also for local transportation. You can take these buses for a city tour in AC comfort at about ₹40. minimum fare is ₹10. These buses are orange.
By auto rickshaw
Autorickshaws (or simply Autos) are a cheap way of travelling between attractions. It is always possible to hire an auto rickshaw from a bus stand, railway station, or special auto rickshaw stand. All the legal, licensed auto-rikshaws should possess fare meters, and the fare is calculated by the taximeter. Ensure the driver turns the meter on before the start of the journey. Most auto drivers tend to charge more for foreigners; this is illegal. The driver may quote a price first, but simply insist that he use the meter. The minimum charge for the autorickshaw is ₨.25 and the running charge per km is ₹12 (as of Dec 2021). (This rate is likely to be revised soon due to increase in petrol and diesel prices.) The charge for waiting for over 10 min is ₹5 for every 15 min, subject to a maximum of ₹200 per day. There are pre-paid autorickshaw counters available near the airport and the railway station. Complaints related to the autorickshaws in Trivandrum can be made to RTO Trivandrum, ☏. Online complaints are also accepted in the traffic police website.
Taxis are convenient and cheap, especially if you are travelling in a group. Taxis can be hired for short distances and also for a few days at a stretch. Unlike other metropolitan cities, Thiruvanathapuram has all types of cars as taxi cabs, to be found in taxi stands. If you wish for a luxurious car, you can normally hire one from your hotel by request.
When you hire the taxi with a driver over a few days, a minimum charge is usually paid that covers the hiring charge for the car, the driver's fees, and a certain distance. If the car covers more than that distance, additional charges are levied according to the extra distance covered as per kilometre. Most of the drivers expect to be paid for their meals during the day. If staying overnight, this will include the hotel charges as well.
The present taxi charges in the city are as follows : minimum charge – ₹65; running charge per km – ₹7.50; and charge for waiting – ₹25 per hour, subject to a maximum of ₹300 per day.
The arterial road of Thiruvananthapuram is the 'MG Road' or the Mahatma Gandhi Road, which lies in the north–south direction and connects almost all important attractions in the city. Trivandrum, being the state capital, has very good roads compared to other parts of Kerala, especially Kochi (where roads are more pothole than road). Many roads in Trivandrum are 4- or 6-laned.
Thiruvananthapuram has many car rental companies that offer cars with drivers. There are very few places that sell "self drive" vehicles and these are difficult to find. Those you may find are often unreasonably expensive by local standards. Ask someone with local know-how before you rent a car.
Scooters and motorcycles are the favoured means of personal transport on the roads. Renting or buying a motorcycle is not for the faint hearted. Traffic in and around the city is a mix of fast and slow, necessitating constant attentiveness to remain safe. Road sense and traffic discipline has improved drastically with a strong administration from the Traffic police department, and helmets and seatbelts are becoming a norm. Lane rules are followed better than in other Indian cities, however you need to be more than just careful if you choose to drive a vehicle. Traffic congestion presents another danger and inconvenience; adjust your expected arrival times depending on traffic.
There are companies arranging tours on Enfield Bullet motorcycles out of Thiruvananthapuram.
Cycles used to be a major mode of transportation for residents. Now the use of bicycles is relatively very low. Thiruvananthapuram is a hilly city. If you plan on bicycle being your main mode of transport, ensure you are fit and well hydrated. There is an absence of cycling lanes and hot weather often makes the day exhausting.
Cycles are available on rent with some companies.
- Vacation India, ☏ .
Many places of attractions within the city are near each other, so it is possible to walk between them. Crossing roads often involves wading across heavy traffic during peak hours. The zebra lanes are used by the locals for road crossing only in major junctions. Other than the major junctions, do not expect vehicles to stop for you in the zebra lines. Try your best to move in a predictable straight line, so vehicles can weave around you. (Better yet, latch onto a group of locals and cross in their shadow.) The recommended walk areas in the city are as follows:
- Walk from Over bridge towards East Fort. Visit the Padmanabhaswami Temple premises. End up your walk in the Gandhi Park in East Fort.
- Walk from Secratariate towards Palayam. Walk and see the Connemera market and do window shopping.
- Walk from Museum Junction towards Vellayambalam. Alternatively, you can also walk inside the Museum compounds.
- Walk from Vellayambalam Junction up to Kowdiar palace. This road is called the Royal Road, as it leads to the palace. There are good coffee shops and snack bars in this area.