In a major boost to Mumbai’s public transportation system, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways on Wednesday announced the commencement of water taxis and RoPax ferry services in the financial capital of the country. Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said 12 new routes of water taxis will begin functioning from May and 4 new routes for RoPax ferry services will be operational by December, 2021.
The development follows launch of a roll-on roll-off (RoRo) cum passenger ferry service, also called ‘RoPax’, between Mumbai and Mandwa near Alibaug last year which saw one lakh passengers in 20 weeks besides transportation of 20,000 vehicles.
Water taxi routes (Image: PIB)
“After successful operation of Mandawa RoPax service that reduced the journey time between Mumbai and Mandawa from three hours to 45 minutes, we are going to operate RoPax service on four more routes by December 2021," Ports, Shipping and Waterways Minister Mandaviya told PTI. Mandaviya said RoPax services, to be launched by December 2021, will be on Mumbai-Nerul, Mumbai-Karanja, Mumbai-Mora and Mumbai-Rewas routes.
These when operational will significantly reduce travel time from Mumbai, he said. Citing example, the minister said presently Mumbai to Rewas distance by road is 70 km which takes 1.3 hours and after launch of the RoPax service the distance between both the places will be barely three km via water transport and Rewas could be reached in 15 minutes.
RoPax terminals and routes (Image: PIB)
He said similarly water taxi services will be launched on 12 routes including from Domestic Cruise Terminal in Mumbai to Nerul, Belapur, Vashi, Airoli, Rewas, Karanja, Dharanmtar, Kanhoji Angre Island and Thane. In addition, other water taxi routes will be Belapur to Thane and Gateway of India and Vashi to Thane and Gateway of India.
“Travel time on these routes by road at present ranges between 40 minutes to two hours 45 minutes and after the launch of water taxis it will range between 15 minutes to 1.3 hours in a few cases," the minister said. Water taxis will have a seating capacity of 14 to 45 passengers at a time and will be operated by private players, he said.
Earlier, he chaired a meeting for reviewing the Urban Water Transportation projects for Mumbai in this connection. Senior officials of ministry, Chairperson Mumbai Port and officials of Maharashtra Maritime Board were present in the meeting.
The RoPax jetty and terminal at Mandwa has been built by Maharashtra Maritime Board at a cost of Rs 135 crore. The minister said that the proposed services will not only boost tourism in the state but also employment.
(With PTI inputs)