Mumbai Water Taxi: Three hours journey to reach Elephanta from Navi Mumbai reduces to 20 minutes

Amit SrivastavaUpdated: Thursday, February 17, 2022, 11:36 PM IST
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Residents of Navi Mumbai can reach South Mumbai in comfortable, fast and environment-friendly mode as the water taxi services from newly developed Belapur Jetty started on Thursday. Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray inaugurated the Belapur jetty online while union minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal flagged off water taxi service from the jetty.

At present, the water transport services will be available from Belapur to Bhaucha Dhakka, JNPT and Elephanta. While one can reach Bhaucha Dhakka in 30 minutes, it will take 20 minutes to reach Elephanta by a speed boat. However, in a catamaran, it will take 50 minutes to reach Bhaucha Dakka from Belapur.

The commuting in water transport will not only save time, but it will also be hassle-free. At present, even by suburban trains, it takes around 70 minutes to reach Mumbai and at least 90 minutes by road.

In fact, going to Elephanta from Navi Mumbai is a herculean task. Residents of Navi Mumbai welcomed the development. “It takes at least three hours to reach Elephanta from Navi Mumbai by local trains or a cab. After getting down at CSMT station, we have to go to Gateway of India in a taxi for a boat to reach Elephanta,” said Prakash Kosy, a Panvel resident. He added that the total expense is almost similar to what we have to pay in a speed boat or catamaran. At present, the two-way fare between Belapur and Elephanta in a speed boat would be Rs 825 for a single person. However, Belapur MLA Manda Mhatre has demanded to bring down fare so that more people can use the services.

Interestingly, the Elephanta caves fall under the Mora police station of Navi Mumbai Police. However, reaching there is a challenge for the police.

Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said that the water taxi will be useful for getting to Elephanta, a popular tourist spot. He added that the country's first water taxi started in Maharashtra from Belapur to connect Navi Mumbai and Mumbai. “The sea is not only used to watch the sunrise and sunset. The use of the sea should increase. Whether it is water transport or something else, its use should be increased while accelerating the economic development movement. In the next two to three years, we will be desalinating sea water,” said Thackery.

Planned around three decades ago, the Belapur jetty is constructed at a cost of Rs 8.37 crores under the Sagarmala programme, jointly funded by central and state government with 50:50 ratio. The jetty has ample space for parking to accommodate 75 cars and 85 two-wheelers.

Soon, your commute from Navi Mumbai to south Mumbai will not just be smooth sailing, but a short and sweet one at that. All you have to do is step into a water taxi and luxuriously cruise into town. Water taxi services from the newly developed Belapur Jetty were inaugurated on Thursday by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray online, while Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal flagged off the aquatic people mover.

For now, services are available from Belapur to Bhaucha Dhakka, JNPT and Elephanta. The journey to Bhaucha Dhakka from Belapur will take 30 minutes, while it will take 20 minutes to reach Elephanta by a speed boat. By catamaran, the same journey would be 50 minutes long.

Using the waterway will not only save time, but will also be hassle-free. While there are the ever-reliable suburban trains to fall back on, it does take around 70 minutes to reach Mumbai currently and at least 90 minutes by road.

Going to Elephanta from Navi Mumbai used to be a mammoth task, so naturally, Navi Mumbai residents have welcomed the development. “It takes at least three hours to reach Elephanta from Navi Mumbai by local train or a cab. First, the journey to CSMT, then taking a bus or cab to the Gateway of India in order to catch the boat to Elephanta,” said Prakash Kosy, a Panvel resident. The total expenditure involved is almost close to the charges one could expect to pay in a speed boat or catamaran, he added. At present, the roundtrip fare, from Belapur to Elephanta and back in a speedboat is Rs 825 for a single person. Belapur MLA Manda Mhatre has demanded that these fares be brought down, so that more people can use the services.

Interestingly, the Elephanta caves fall under the Mora police station of Navi Mumbai Police. However, getting there used to be a challenge for them; hopefully, that will change now.

CM Thackeray said that the water taxi would be useful in getting to Elephanta, a popular tourist spot. He added that the country’s first water taxi has started in Maharashtra from Belapur, to connect Navi Mumbai and Mumbai. “The sea is not just for watching sunrises and sunsets. The use of the sea should increase. Whether it is water transport or any other purposes, its use should be increased while accelerating the economic development movement. In the next two to three years, we will be desalinating seawater,” said Thackery.

Planned around three decades ago, the Belapur jetty has been constructed at a cost of Rs 8.37 crore under the Sagarmala programme, jointly funded (50:50)by the Central and state governments. The jetty has parking space for 75 cars and 85 two-wheelers.

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