Updated: September 25, 2021 3:44:42 pm
In a few weeks, Navi Mumbai may just be a water taxi ride away from south Mumbai. The Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) is planning to hold a trial run of the water taxi service between Belapur in Navi Mumbai and the domestic terminal at Ferry Wharf in Mumbai in October.
The trial will be the culmination of a three-decade-old plan which envisaged using Mumbai’s waterways for passenger transport, helping connect different points in the city as well as the satellite cities of Thane and Navi Mumbai.
“We are planning to start the trial run. I am in discussion with the chairman of the Mumbai Port Trust,” said MMB CEO Amit Saini.
Officials said the trial run of the inland water transport system being built by MMB will go on for a few weeks before the service is opened to commuters. It will reduce the travel time between Belapur and Ferry Wharf from 75-80 minutes to just 45 minutes, they added. Speed boats and catamarans which can carry up to 60 people will be used to ferry passengers.
Though the tariff is yet to be finalised by the Mumbai Port Trust, the estimated one-way fare is likely to be around Rs 300. This is much higher than a second-class train ticket which costs just Rs 15 or even a first-class ticket which costs Rs 150. Officials, however, said that commuters would be able to ride in comfort and that the fares are much lower than the amount charged by cabs or if one is using a private vehicle.
In April, then minister of shipping and waterways Mansukh Mandaviya had announced the Union government’s plan to launch water taxi services on 12 routes – from the domestic cruise terminal in Mumbai to Nerul, Belapur, Vashi, Airoli, Rewas, Karanja, Dharamtar, Kanhoji Angre Island and Thane; from Belapur to Thane and Gateway of India and from Vashi to Thane and Gateway of India.
“Currently, the Belapur-Mumbai route is complete and we will start services on it. Work on the other routes is still on,” an official said. Two or three operators have shown interest in running the services, officials added.
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