Mumbai’s many waterways have always been underutilised, but that may finally be rectified with the MMRDA’s announcement to develop transport services on the eastern waterfront. If all goes as planned, the Mumbaikar’s long commute between Navi Mumbai and the island city will be reduced by at least half an hour. In its 2010-2011 budget, the development authority has allocated Rs 100 crore to launch catamaran and hovercraft services for commuters. Provisions are also being made to launch roll-on and roll-off services to transport vehicles and other cargo. The 45-minute ferry services will be run between Ferry Wharf in south Mumbai and Vashi, Nerul and Belapur. There will also be a waterway to connect Ferry Wharf to Mandwa, Uran and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT). Services will be operational all through the year, except during the monsoon. Each catamaran or hovercraft will be able to carry around 150-300 passengers. The MMRDA will develop passenger terminals at Vashi, Nerul, Belapur, Mandwa, Ferry Wharf, and subsequently at JNPT and Uran. While private firms can run catamarans, hovercraft and boats, ticketing will be controlled by the state government. A similar service is being planned on the west coast by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC). “In the event that the ongoing MSRDC bid to attract firms for the project fails, it may come to the MMRDA for implementation,’’ said Gaikwad. Boat services to Airoli and Ghansoli have not been considered as yet.