Working in Bangalore?
Expat Info Bangalore
Private Healthcare Options Are a Safe Bet
There is no shortage of healthcare facilities in Bangalore, although standards may vary wildly, especially among public hospitals. Since India in general is becoming an increasingly popular destination for medical tourists, numerous highly specialized private clinics have opened in recent years, offering world-class treatment and care to those who can afford it.
While medical treatment in India might not seem expensive compared to Western standards, few Indian people can afford to pay for it, given the lack of comprehensive health insurance coverage among the population. In fact, the private healthcare sector in Bangalore is very much geared toward affluent locals, wealthy expats, and medical tourists. With a good health insurance package, you should have no troubles getting the treatment you require.
The only time when expats are likely to face difficulties is in an emergency situation. To dial an ambulance, call either 112, 102, or 108. In big cities, it’s common for state ambulances to take a long time to reach you, due to the amount of emergency calls. Ambulance drivers often have medical training of a lower standard than what you might be used to and might expect instructions from you as to where to go. Therefore, it’s useful to know where the nearest hospital is or where you (or the person concerned) would like to be taken in case of an emergency.
Some ambulance services, which are not affiliated with a hospital, also lack any life-saving equipment in their vehicles. It is best to ask colleagues or neighbors for hospitals, doctors, and ambulance services they would recommend, so you will be prepared should you or a family member ever need emergency assistance.
In addition to the healthcare directory linked above, the US Consulate in Chennai also provides an overview of hospitals and clinics in Bangalore, complete with office hours, specializations, and languages spoken.
Tackling the Bangalore Traffic
Hardly surprising for a city with one of the highest traffic densities in India, traveling around Bangalore is not much fun. The main means of public transportation are the bus services operated by the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation. However, a rapid transit system called Namma Metro is under construction and became partly operational in 2011, with further sections added in 2014 and 2015.
The price of single fares and monthly travel passes for BMTC buses often depends on the specific service or type of bus you’d like to use — buses with air conditioning, for example, will be more expensive. For more information on routes, fares, and timetables, please refer to the BMTC website. The Vayu Vajra Airport Service, also operated by BMTC, provides a 24/7 transfer with only a few stops to the new Kempegowda International Airport on various routes from strategic points all across the city, including the suburbs.
Most expats who have no company car or regular driver choose to travel by taxi. If you want to hail a taxi on the go, make sure they are a registered driver and check that there is a meter. However, since the most reliable taxis are only available on call and should be pre-booked at least two hours in advance, taxis in Bangalore don’t necessarily offer the same flexibility as elsewhere. Auto-rickshaws are another good option, but only for the more adventurous, as some drivers can be quite reckless.
When traveling from Bangalore to other destinations in India, driving is a reliable option and allows for much more freedom than public transportation. There are options, though: Indian Railways provides direct train connections between Bangalore and most major Indian cities, and the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation operates intrastate intercity coach services.
Learning to Read between the Lines
India is a complex country with a very diverse society, which makes it difficult to give general advice about working in India, let alone Bangalore in particular. There are, however, a couple of common mistakes made by expats in India. Fortunately, some pitfalls are easily avoided if you are aware of them.
Indians are very polite, so you are unlikely to receive a straight “no” in response to a request. Instead, you might hear the standard “that is possible”, which is often mistaken for an affirmative answer by unsuspecting expats. “That is possible” doesn’t necessarily mean that whatever you requested is going to happen. What it actually implies is that it should be possible, while it will require some more persuasion before it happens. You should therefore always be prepared to deal with some negotiations before coming to an agreement.
Another aspect of working life that expats sometimes find unusual is the concept of punctuality in many Indian companies. Turning up 15 minutes late to a meeting, for example, would be considered perfectly on time in a lot of offices, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself waiting up to half an hour sometimes for people to arrive or for meetings to start. In general, you might find business to be more relaxed than you are used to. That having been said, Bangalore is a hugely international city and every workplace culture will differ.
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