'With M2M, Raigad will practically become a Mumbai suburb', says spokesperson
It is Greece to Mumbai and Mandwa as Ro-Pax ferry service opens new chapter in waterway commuting amid challenging times
A new mode of transport, the M2M-1 (the M2M stands for Mumbai to Mandwa or even Mandwa to Mumbai) Ro-Pax ferry service began operations on March 15, 2020.
The low-key launch ceremony saw Mansukh Mandavia, Minister of State for Shipping in Mumbai on Sunday afternoon and Dr N Ramaswamy, Chairman Mumbai Maritime Board (MMB) in Mandwa.
The Ro-Pax vessel came from Perauis in Greece to Mumbai.
The M2M-1 was built in September 2019. Sanjay Bhatia, chairman, Mumbai Port Trust, said, "We had been waiting for a while for the vessel. It has come at a trying time, maybe, but we are thankful to the state government and the Mumbai Maritime Board (MMB), there is a new option for waterway travel."
The Ro-Pax can carry 500 passengers and up to 145 vehicles per trip between terminals at Ferry Wharf (Bhaucha Dhakka) in Mumbai and Mandwa, Raigad. Bhatia added, "The vessel will take off at the special terminal at Bhaucha Dhakka. The port trust has a 1-km stretch at the Bhaucha Dhakka where we have special infra for water transportation. We have a domestic cruise terminal on one side and the Ro-Pax terminal on the other."
Mandavia said, "We will explore more locations where we can ply Ro-Pax ferry services in the country," with Bhatia adding that, "Water taxis from here to Vashi/JNPT are in the pipeline."
Water transport means Mumbai travellers reach Mandwa in one hour. By road they traverse roughly 111 km, taking up to five hours. Ferry and speedboat journeys halt from May 25 to October during the monsoon. The M2M-1 Ro-Pax ferry though will be operational 365 days of the year.
Bhatia and Aashim Mongia, spokesperson for M2M, said, "The all-year service will be a game-changer for water transport." Mongia added that this service, "is targetted at daily travellers — those who live in Alibaug and work in Mumbai. While they use the current options available, the Ro-Pax will practically make Raigad a suburb of Mumbai."
Mongia said it is called a ferry but the size of the vessel makes it a "ship". He termed the timing of the start, when Coronavirus caution may mean lower footfalls, as a bit, "unfortunate, but we had to start. We have great stress on safety with at least 1,000 life jackets on board," said Mongia. The time table will be on the website.
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