The much-awaited Mumbai water taxi services starting in January 2022 are expected to provide connectivity between the Domestic Cruise Terminal at Ferry Wharf and the terminals at Belapur and Nerul. The Indian Express takes a look at this project along with others.
The government has allotted routes, such as International Cruise Terminal to Elephanta, Domestic Cruise Terminal (DCT) to Rewas, Karanjade, Dharamtar, DCT to Belapur, Nerul, Vashi, Airoli, Khanderi Islands and JNPT, to various operators. The operators say that DCT to JNPT, and later Navi Mumbai, will be the most sought-after route. At present, there are no infrastructure facilities at Vashi and Airoli.
Sources in Mumbai Port Trust and state government said that the water taxi service is likely to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the first week on January 2022. At present, there are three operators ready; a fourth one could join after their catamaran is certified fit in the next two-three months, say Mumbai Port Trust officers
Work on the project was accelerated after Nitin Gadkari became the Shipping Minister. The Mumbai Port Trust constructed the DCT and CIDCO started building the terminals in Navi Mumbai. The Maharashtra Maritime Board charted the routes. The MbPT also constructed a concrete jetty at Khanderi Islands.
Officers feel that at present, the fares are high, and the rates can be decreased once an operator gets a large catamaran. One operator said the fares from DCT to Navi Mumbai will be between Rs 1,200 and 1,500 per passenger while the fare to JNPT can be around Rs 750. Another said that the fare from DCT in Mumbai to JNPT and Navi Mumbai will be from Rs 800 to Rs 1,100.
According to the operators, it will be a 30-minute ferry from DCT to Navi Mumbai and 15 to 20 minutes from DCT to JNPT. MbPT and MMB officers said that services can operate from 300 to 330 days in a year and will not operate in extremely heavy rains. The frequency is expected to be high in morning and evenings.
The project to develop water transport on the western coast of Mumbai has changed hands and many government agencies like MSRDC. At present, MMB is constructing jetties at some places, but not much progress has been made in the last two decades.
The Gateway of India was connected to Navi Mumbai and Girgaum was connected to Juhu by catamaran till the services were shut down in 1994. At present, there are speedboats, launches, catamarans that run on the Mumbai-Mandwa route and launches that connect Mumbai with Uran, Mora, Rewas, Mandwa and Elephanta Caves. Besides, there are diesel launches that connect Madh Island and Versova, Borivali and Gorai-Esselworld and Marve-Manori.
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