The Bangalore airport (officially called Kempegowda International Airport, named after the founder of Bangalore) opened in 2005 and located about 40kms from the city centre. It is the only commercial airport of Bangalore. The old city airport is only used for testing & defense purposes (probably also for private planes. When I own one, I will confirm that :)

Reaching the airport by road is the only option. The plan of running an airport-express style train seems practically shelved.

For an airport that handles over 12 million passengers, plenty of operators and aggregators offer transfer services. Following are those with differentiating offers:

1. Airport Buses

Started with much fanfare (online bookings, seat selection, many routes), the service has been normalized based on passenger response. As of now, 9 routes are operational and details of routes, fares & timings are available here.

Fares range from Rs 150 to 270

Pros:

  • Most economical option for groups of 2/3
  • Air-conditioned Volvo buses
  • Designated space for baggage storage (may not exist in some routes)

Cons:

  • No advance booking
  • No way to track the buses
  • No official mobile apps (Many apps by private developers but the risk of outdated information)

2. TaxiForSure

Started in the end of 2011, TaxiForSure has been a much-talked about startup. TaxiForSure is an aggregator i.e. they partner with traditional taxi operators. This has been my preferred option in recent times primarily for the quality of service & fixed fare structure.

To airport: Fare start from Rs 650 for 35kms OR Rs 750 flat fare
From airport: Fare start from Rs 450 for 35kms OR Rs 650 flat fare

Pros:

  • Advancing booking through phone (080 60601010), web and mobile app
  • Good quality cars and well-mannered drivers (in my experience)
  • Receipts by email

Cons:

  • Cannot flag down at airport for return since not designated as official airport taxi by airport
  • Requires coordination with driver & walking up to the airport parking lot

Signup for TaxiForSure using this link for some not-so-valuable vouchers worth Rs 650 (Easemytrip: Rs.400/- on return flight | Rs.200/- on oneway, Zovi.com: Rs.200 off, Freecharge.in: Rs.50 talktime)

3. Uber

Travel in style & powered by modern technology. As much as I love Uber & use it extensively, it an unviable option for airport transfers for 2 reasons – Risk of no cabs being available just-in-time & flat fare of Rs 2000

Flat fare of Rs 2000

Pros:

  • Luxurious AC cars (Toyota Corolla, Innova)
  • Directly billed to credit card
  • Receipts by email

Cons:

  • No advance booking
  • Exorbitantly priced at Rs 2000
  • No phone or web support (Book only through the mobile app)

Signup for Uber using this link for start up credit for Rs 300. Additionally, use the promo code LiveFromALounge (Courtesy) for 2 free rides up to Rs 500 before 20th April, 2014.

4. MegaCabs, KSTDC, MeruCabs

These are the officially designated as airport taxis by the airport hence the easiest to hop on when returning from airport. For this one reason, I still use them to return from the airport. I have used Meru to reach the airport in the past. Service was satisfactory but moved to TaxiForSure since Meru is expensive and offer no added advantage.

Fares start at Rs 19.50/km (night fare 10% extra i.e Rs 21.45/km!)

Pros:

  • Easiest to access from airport
  • Electronic meters

Cons:

  • Relatively expensive
  • Inconsistent experience (At times, dust & bad odour, explicitly need to ask driver to put on air conditioning)
  • Odd-priced bills, hence issue of change (Trivial but very frustrating after a long flight & at late nights)

Click here for details of website & contact numbers of the individual providers

PROMO: MegaCabs is running an interesting offer. Rs 700 flat fare to airport in a sedan. This is compared to the usual fare of Rs 830 by TaxiForSure. I have been using this. When this expired, I will go back to TaxiForSure

5. Kickstart Cabs

Launched in late 2013, a unique service for the disabled. The fleet of cars are designed for smooth entry/exit & trained drivers to escort passenger with mobility constraints. Further details of the modifications are described here. Vidhya Ramasubban, director of KickStart Cabs is glad to discuss specifics. Contact: +91 8105600445

Flat fares range from Rs 730 to Rs 830

Do you see any interesting & unique services for commutes to & from the airport missing from the above list? Post them on Facebook or Twitter