Mumbai If all goes to plan, Mumbaiites may be able to take a ferry to Navi Mumbai by February next year. A private firm will start the service between Gateway of India and Nerul and is currently in the process of procuring hovercrafts from Russia, said the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB).The water transport project on the city’s eastern front is being executed by the MMB. The service is expected to reduce travel time between the two cities from two hours to 30 minutes. Only one firm came forward during the tendering process and it is now in the process of acquiring the hovercraft, a senior MMB official said. Vikram Kumar, chief executive officer (CEO), MMB, said, “A Chennai-based firm MOH group expressed its interest in operating the service and is now purchasing the hovercrafts from Russia. Once they arrive, services between Nerul and Gateway of India should start.” As per the contract, the company operating the service has to procure vessels. The company will procure two hovercrafts with the collective capacity of 100 passengers, said the official. “These will be second-hand hovercrafts but they will be refurbished. We expect services to start by February 2019. This would give another mode of transport for Mumbai. People from Navi Mumbai can reach south Mumbai in about 30 minutes,” a senior official said.The service will also be operation in monsoon as there are no tidal movements in the creek. Kumar said the fare will be decided once the firm procures the hovercrafts. More vessels may be added after gauging the passengers’ initial response, officials said. Moreover, another project connecting Nerul to Nadwa, near Alibaug may be introduced.