The state government has turned down a proposal to hike passenger fare for those travelling from Mumbai to Alibaug and Mandwa.
It has now asked the owners to bring to table a revamp plan that will first talk of better services.
“We had a meeting with both the ferry owners and passengers association and we have pointed out that in case we allow fare hike, it should be commensurate with services provided which it is currently not,” said State Ports Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil.
The state said the ferries are very old and do not even have basic safety measures required, Patil said. On September 21, State Finance Minister Sunil Tatkare was travelling in a catamaran near Mandwa when the engine caught fire after a fishing net got entangled in it. A rescue boat of the Raigad police had to be brought in to ferry him and other passengers.
“A ride from Mumbai to Mandwa, which should not take more than 45 minutes in a modern boat, takes double the time. So, with less frequency and bad service asking for more money is not justified,” he said.
The groups — owners and passengers — have been asked to sit together and chalk out a plan which will bring in modern transportation and is more safe and quick. “The state will give them necessary support but we want to see how they chalk out the plan considering passengers’ need. Then we will take it forward,” he added.