Despite the rackety buses, given funds, BEST wants to run waterway transport

BMC had asked the BEST if it was possible for it to run waterways passenger transport; It has said if given money for the infrastructure, it will look at implementing it

The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking may be in the doldrums regarding running the buses, but is keen on operating transport services on waterways, if provided funds to set up the infrastructure for it by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). This comes at a time when the Comprehensive Mobility Plan was recently released by the BMC.

Currently there are regular ferrys from the Gatway of India to Alibaug. The BEST water transport could also terminate at the Gateway of India and Nariman Point. Picture for representationCurrently there are regular ferrys from the Gatway of India to Alibaug. The BEST water transport could also terminate at the Gateway of India and Nariman Point. Picture for representation

The issue came up some time back when the civic authority was studying the transport condition of the city. According to the civic body, the rail and roads of Mumbai have got congested. Everyday 80 lakh people travel via local trains on both Central and Western lines that are connected to Navi Mumbai and the extended metropolitan region of Mumbai.

With over 25 lakh vehicles on road, the traffic has also messed up the public and private modes of transport in the city. Under such circumstances, the BMC had asked the BEST Undertaking, if there is a possibility of operating water transport in Mumbai on both its western and central routes.

Sources said that the plan is to mainly connect Mumbai suburbs with the tip of the island city. “Few starting and terminating points on the western suburbs were identified. The plan needs to be studied first,” said a BEST official. These could be mainly Marve-Manori, Gorai jetty, Madh Island or Versova and/or corresponding locations where boats can halt.

The boat services can terminate at Nariman Point or Gateway of India depending on the feasibility. Officials claimed that BEST being the transport wing for the corporation, they should at least see its possibility. But the Undertaking has said that at present they do not have any infrastructure or funds to operate waterways. But if they can get money for setting up the necessary infrastructure, then they will look at its implementation positively.

Official speak
Jagdish Patil, General Manager, BEST said, “This issue (about running water transport by BEST) was raised at a BMC meeting. Under present circumstances it is not possible, unless necessary funds and infrastructure are provided to us.”

BEST road transport plans
Currently the BEST plans to buy 303 new single decker Euro-III buses for Mumbai at a cost of Rs 50 lakh each. This is despite the fact that their losses in the transport division are surging and they have shown their expected rise from Rs 900 in 2016-17 to Rs 1,300 crore by 2019-20.

Another waterways transport
The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) had also planned operations of passenger water transport project from 2017 on the eastern coast of Mumbai. Here it is to connect Navi Mumbai with the island city. This plan has now been handed over to Mumbai Maritime Board.

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