Its packed suburban trains are estimated to carry seven million people every day, and each year more than 3,000 people are killed on the railway network, sometimes falling from open doors or hit while crossing the tracks.
"The rush hour is the biggest issue. There are times it's so crowded, it's difficult to breathe," said Sudhir Gadgil, 62, an office assistant in Mumbai's southern business district, whose commute to work by train takes 1.5 hours.
In neighbouring Bangladesh, the capital Dhaka is facing the worst transport infrastructure problems in its history.
Soon after taking over in January 2009, the government promised to tackle the crisis with an array of ambitious rail, bus and road projects, but most are still in the design stage.
"Dhaka already is a moribund city. It's dying fast and I see no hope how we can save it," said Shamsul Haq, the country's top transport expert and a professor at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology.
Traffic jams are by no means unique to Dhaka, however, and in many teeming cities the prospect of abandoning city life altogether is becoming increasingly appealing for some frustrated residents.
In Jakarta, ranked bottom of 23 cities in Frost & Sullivan's 2011 global commuter satisfaction survey, experts predict that given its ageing bus network and lack of train system, the capital will reach total gridlock by 2014.
"If it doesn't change in the next five years, I'm moving to Bali for a more peaceful life," freelance writer Dian Agustino told AFP in one of the city's shopping malls.