A Mumbai passenger ferry, Photograph Courtesy: Diego Molla/Creative Commons
Right now, if you want to hit the beaches of Alibaug or go on a Konkan beach run from Alibaug to Kashid, you have two ways of doing it. One is by taking your car, which can take three to four hours depending on how bad the roads are (they’re usually bad). Or you can catch a ferry from the Gateway of India wharf or the Bhaucha Dhakka ferry wharf to the Mandwa jetty. It takes a little more than an hour to cross the harbor waters, but you can’t take your car with you so you have to travel by cab or public transport once in Alibaug. But if all goes well, you’ll be able to have your cake and eat it too on a Ro-Ro car ferry in 2018. ALSO READ: Best places to stay in Alibaug on a budget
The state government has issued a project contract for a Roll-on, Roll-off or Ro-Ro car ferry service every 30 minutes from the Bhaucha Dhakka ferry wharf in Mazgaon to Mandwa. One ferry will be able to transport 350 passengers and 40 cars at a time. Most importantly, the ferries will run through the monsoon as well, and it will cost around INR 500 for each vehicle. In contrast, the ferry from Gateway of India to Mandwa shuts down every monsoon.
Alibag Fort, Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
So you will be able to take your car down to the wharf, park it at the ferry and take it out at Alibaug without dealing with highway traffic. For those who still like taking the road, this could mean fewer cars and traffic snarls. The project will be operated by the Mumbai Port Trust, City and Industrial Development Corporation and Maharashtra Maritime Board. Maldar Dredgers and Salvagers has been awarded the project, and services are expected to begin in April 2018. This is good news for everyone. NOW READ: Top 4 secret beaches in India that only locals know of
The private ferry runners between the Gateway and Mandwa find themselves dealing with high demand; there’s simply too little seats for too many passengers. The Mumbai-Goa highway is also congested as thousands try to head out of the city for a break every weekend. With the Ro-Ro service, you could reach Alibaug in half the time it would take by road, and from there you can head to other destinations along the Konkan coastline.