India: Mumbai's water taxi service to begin from Feb 17

It will cut travel time between Mumbai and Navi Mumbai by more than half



by

A Staff Reporter

Published: Sat 12 Feb 2022, 10:13 AM

For a city that is surrounded by the sea and creeks, water taxis are obviously one of the best modes of transport. City planners and government officials have been talking and planning about this service for decades, but nothing much has materialised.

But finally, Mumbai residents will be able to commute on water taxis from February 17 after a union minister launches the service. It will cut travel time between Mumbai and its twin city, Navi Mumbai, by more than half.

Originally planned more than 30 years ago, central and state government agencies are finally triggering the push into the waters surrounding the metropolis. The Mumbai Port Trust, the Maharashtra Maritime Board and Cidco will be working jointly on the project.

Three routes have been finalised for the start. The first links the domestic cruise terminal at Mazagaon in south Mumbai to Belapur in Navi Mumbai; the other two will take commuters from Belapur to Elephanta Caves and the Nhava-Sheva ports. Plans are to expand the service to other parts of Navi Mumbai once the new jetty is opened at Belapur.

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According to officials, four operators will run the service; speed boats and catamarans will be deployed for transporting people. Of course, the fares will be much higher as compared to the suburban rail ones, but far cheaper than travelling by cabs or driving down in cars.

The journey from south Mumbai to Belapur will cost less than Rs300 on a catamaran and commuters can also buy a monthly pass of Rs12,000 ensuring unlimited to and fro travel. Importantly, unlike the road journey, which can take up to two hours or even more, the catamarans will take 45 minutes.


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