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BJP floats 'Duck Bus' proposal yet again

Taking a cue from innovative public transport systems in cities across the world, Union Road Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari has proposed buses that can run on both road and water for the island city. The proposal is for these amphibious buses to be operated under the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) to help promote tourism in ports.

“There have been talks with Members of Parliament about it,” said sources in the party. However, this is not the first time the BJP has suggested amphibious buses. In 2009, a similar proposal was made by the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST), under its then chairman and BJP leader Dilip Patel.

It was also in 2009 that the BEST had decided to call the means of transportation ‘Duck Bus’, probably after its counterpart in London. A 40-minute ride on land and a 20-minute one on the Arabian Sea had been proposed. At that time, fares for the 49-seater bus had been planned at R100 during non-peak hours, and Rs 150 during peak hours.

“I had sent the proposal to the BMC, but it got stuck due to environmental clearances. I had also visited other countries who were operating these amphibious buses,” said Dilip Patel. Improving water transport has been on the city’s transportation agenda for a long time, but nothing has materialised so far. The proposed Inland Water Transport, which was supposed to use hovercraft, has also remained only on paper for both the eastern and western corridors.

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