TRANSPORTATION

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» Maharashtra
Location : Maharashtra
Main Means Of Transport: Air, Rail, Road



Maharashtra has an efficient network of all-weather roads and railways. Most cities are connected by air through government or privately owned airlines. The state government has initiated major reforms to further improve the transportation facilities in the state.

Air

Almost all the large cities in Maharashtra are accessible by air. Mumbai has two airports at Sahara (International) and Santa Cruz (Domestic). Almost all other cities having airports in India and most major international destinations are linked to Mumbai through direct flights. Ten other cities in the state have airports regularly serviced by government or privately owned airlines.

Regular Commercial Services

Futher, airstrips are also planned in smaller towns and tourist centres to operate feeder services. These include Baramati (near Pune ) Dabhol (near Ratnagiri) and Shirdi (in Ahmadnagar district). There are also plans for helicopter services on certain inter-city and intra-city routes. In addition, to meet the needs of increasing traffic in the coming years, a new international airport hub is currently under consideration.

Ports

Endowed with a coastline 720-km long, Maharashtra has several natural ports. Almost there were 48 minor ports. Most of these handle passenger traffic and have a limited capacity. The two principal ports are located in Mumbai - The Jawaharlal Nehru Port (at Uran, outside Mumbai) and the Mumbai Port are under the control and supervision of the government of India.

Railways

Maharashtra has 5,554-km of railways, which comprise about 8.9% of the total length in the country. Almost all-major cities in the state are connected by the country's railway network. There are a number of deluxe trains plying on many of the important routes originating from Mumbai, which is also the headquarters of the Central Railway and the Western Railway.

Maharashtra government is undertaking several projects to meet the needs of the increasing industrialisation, which include upgradation and modernisation of existing railway facilities to accommodate high speed and heavier locomotives. The biggest and the most ambitious project to date in this connection is the Konkan Railway project.

The Konkan Railway line is in many ways a reflection of the spirit and determination of the people of Maharashtra. The 760-km railway line runs through the states of Maharashtra (382 km) Goa (105 km) and Karnataka (273-km). The railway lines runs through the underdeveloped parts of the state, which though rich in resources, have not been developed so far due to lack of basic infrastructure.

It is one of the engineering marvel covering 53 stations on the route and passes over a number of bridges. In addition, it passes through 92 tunnels, including a 6.5-km-long tunnel linking Karbude and Ratnagiri, which is the longest of its kind. The Konkan Railway line provides the region with an effective link between the three ports of Mumbai, Marmagoa and Mangalore on the western coast of India. The local railway networks in Mumbai provide services to over a million commuters daily and the ability to provide these services almost continually is a source of pride to Maharashtra.

Road Transport

The total road length in Maharashtra is approximately 246,000-km. In a total land area of about 308,000-sq km. The state has 3,000-km of national highways, which is about 8.6 per cent of the total length in the country. In addition, there are 30,500 km of state highways and 30,000-km of district roads in the state.

Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation is one of the efficient public transportation systems in the country, with buses that connect almost all the towns and villages of the state. Presently, state transport buses ply on over 19,000 routes in the state, covering 1.2 million km. Approximately 15,500 buses help 7.5 million passengers every day to reach their destination.

In addition to the government services, cities have private and non-private taxis, auto-rickshaws, and intra-city buses, which run efficiently. The city bus service run by the Bombay Electric Supply and Transportation Undertaking, popularly known as BEST, is arguably one of the most extensive and well-run public road transport systems in the world. The BEST buses carry approximately 4.2 million passengers per day.

Mumbai's Local Trains And Taxis

The lives of millions of people who live in Mumbai and suburbs opens with the starting of the local trains, namely the Harbour, the Central and the Western, which awaken the city to a new day. They are not as fast as the Bullet Train or as smooth as the trains plying on the magnetic tracts.

But Mumbai's local trains are considered to be one of the most efficiently run commuter services in the world. There are as many as 961 local train services plying on the Western line carrying over 23 million commuters everyday while the 1,070 services on the Central and the Harbour play hosts to over 30 million commuters daily. The railway tracks in the entire city rest for a meager four hours a day. It is during these night hours that the working staff of the railways, repairs and services the complete network for the next day.

The local trains are the main arteries of Mumbai. A halt or a disruption of the local train services would mean an imminent standstill to the thriving activities of the entire communication network, a near complete motionless city. It is stated that over eleven million people travel by the Indian railways every day. And interestingly, out of these eleven million, over five million travel every day by the local trains in Mumbai and its suburbs, in all directions.

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) formerly known as Victoria Terminus (VT) makes a striking sight with its cathedral-like spires, arches and turrets. Local and outstation trains ply from here. CST and the Church gate station are the busiest centres right from the wee hours until the last service. Located at the heart of the city, these stations are a part of Mumbai's pictorial encyclopaedia.

BEST (Brihan Mumbai Electric Supply and Transport) buses are the perfect alternative. Plying over 1,000 routes with an estimated 3500 buses, of which 50 are special air-conditioned coaches, the BEST transports over 4.5 million commuters everyday. The city also takes pride in its honest and professionally run cabs and three wheeler rickshaws. Without them the city would be void of the moving stagnant traffic life and the busy roads.



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