Mumbai: Auto ban forces domestic AI passengers to take longer route to T2
Air India has shifted domestic operations to the international terminal from October 1. However, this shift has only inconvenienced passengers, as the easiest access via the Rs 400 crore Sahar elevated road to T2, is only for four-wheelers, not for auto rickshaws.
The easiest access via the Rs 400 crore Sahar elevated road to T2, is only for four-wheelers. File pic
Passengers will have to travel by private vehicles or taxis to get to the international airport. Normally passengers travelling to the domestic terminal prefer auto rickshaws. Now they will have to take the longer route via JB Nagar and Chakala if they are traveling by rickshaw, and then get off at the auto drop-off zone at T2. Domestic passengers will then have to go up to level 4 (departure).
Though the domestic operations are from level three of the terminal, domestic passengers can get into the terminal only through level four. Though the national carrier has provided shuttle services between terminal 1A and T2 for any passengers unaware of the shift, signs at the city side seemed to be a problem for few of them on the first day of commencement of domestic operations from T2.
Among other airlines, Jet Airways will shift operations to T2 in January. To add to the problems, compared to the domestic terminal, the international terminal is far from the Western Express highway, forcing passengers commuting by three-wheelers to get into the traffic prone roads.
Even if passengers coming from the central line take the Metro and get down at the Airport Metro Road station, getting a rickshaw from the station is another difficulty. mid-day had reported how the Metro too doesn’t help a flier reach the airport without any issues (‘Mumbai Metro-I provides no relief for T-2 passengers’, February 2).
An airport operator’s official claimed it was the MMRDA’s decision to keep the three-wheelers away, though an MMRDA official had earlier claimed to mid-day that it was the traffic department which decided to disallow three- wheelers. Apart from travel issues, according to sources, the passenger-load increases, posing a challenge for not only the airport operator but also the security agencies.
“The passengers entering the departure level will be both domestic as well as international. Though they will be segregated after a certain point, the operating staff will remain the same, which might be dangerous for smuggling. However, the airport operator has assured different passes to staff operating at different levels in order to have control over their movements,” said a senior Customs Official.
Mona Gowda, who is a frequent flyer said, “Coming to the domestic terminal was easier as it was directly connected to Western Express Highway, coming to T2 will mean taking the rickshaw through the traffic prone areas especially in the morning peak hours. Not only does it mean that we will have to leave our homes earlier than before, but also will make us stop taking a rickshaw and use a taxi, and shell out more money.”