Finally taking cognizance of the newly launched water taxi operators, after much resistance, the Mumbai Port Authority(MbPA) has given a go-ahead to them to ply from the Gateway of India. Rajeev Jalota IAS, Chairman of MbPA speaking to the media on Thursday said that the permissions have been given. "The permission was sought by the operators in a bid to increase the footfall," he stressed.
However, he asserted that the Gateway of India provision is for time being and in future, the halting stop will be the new jetty that will soon come at Radio Club, Mumbai. "Obviously, the objective is to decongest the existing jetty functional at Gateway of India. Funds have already been allocated under the Sagarmala Scheme for Radio Club jetty construction work and the work is likely to begin in the next few months," Jalota added.
In February this year, the much-awaited water taxi service on two routes between the Ferry Wharff Bahuccha Dhakka (Domestic Cruise Terminal) and Belapur and Ferry Wharff Bahuccha Dhakka (Domestic Cruise Terminal) and Elephanta caves was started. However, the water taxi operators soon expressed their concern over poor ridership, especially on routes between Domestic Cruise Terminal and Elephanta as the DCT is not well connected unlike Gateway of India.
With the availability of three operators, the water taxi service on the said two new routes is functional. However, the occupancy is only 50-60 per cent.
One of the water taxi operators, who did not wish to be named said that from Gateway of India in small boats the passengers will be taken to ferry wharf DCT and from there they will be taken into the water taxi boats comprising 52 seaters, 32 seaters etc. He added that commuters in the will also understand that DCT is an important stop. Today, people are not so well aware of DCT but are more familiar with the Gateway of India halting stop. That same approach the operators in coordination with MbPA, Maharashtra Maritime Board will try to bring in by creating awareness.