This is the best way to explore the port city of Mumbai

How to explore the best of Mumbai without getting stuck in its notorious traffic jams. Source: Shutterstock.

IN 2017, Mumbai was crowned India’s favorite city destination at the Conde Nast award ceremony in New Delhi.

Known for its British-built colonial buildings, extensive museums and galleries, and its bustling street markets, Mumbai draws almost six million tourists a year.

The port city is also home to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, the second busiest airport in the country in terms of total and international passenger traffic after Delhi.

It is without a doubt that the densely populated destination is a major tourist attraction, but it is also known for its notoriously terrible traffic jam, which makes navigating around the city to take in the sights and sounds extremely daunting.

According to a Boston Consulting Group report, Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, and Kolkata lose more than US$22 billion a year because of traffic jams. It takes commuters about 1.5 hours longer to travel a given distance than in comparable Asian cities, the report said.

Fortunately, ride-hailing company Uber has rolled out a new service which will allow travelers to beat Mumbai’s traffic.

Making its debut in India for the first time is Uber Boat, the company’s boat service.

Source: Shutterstock.

Tapping into the vast potential of the port city’s waterways transport system, Uber Boat allows customers to book speedboats between three destinations on the city’s waterfront.

”Our vision is to make Mumbai as the sea transport and tourism hub of the country,” Lonely Planet quoted Bombay Port Trust chairman Sanjay Bhatia as saying.

“As we continue to reimagine the waterways of Mumbai through a host of ambitious projects and partnerships, we believe Uber Boat will play a pivotal role in improving connectivity,” he added.

With Uber Boat, travelers will be able to explore some of the city’s popular coastal spots such as the Gateway of India, Mandwa Jetty, Elephanta Caves at Elephanta Islands, and the beach getaway of Alibaug with much more ease and efficiency.

Source: Shutterstock.

Uber Boat rides start at INR5,700 (US$80) for a six- or eight-seater boat and up to INR9,500 (US$132) for an Uber Boat XL, a larger boat which can accommodate 10 passengers.

The boats will be equipped with safety features like life jackets, emergency contact details, printed collaterals along with a manual that highlights safety instructions.

The only catch is that Uber Boat bookings have to be made for an entire boat and not individual seats.

Uber Boat already operates in Croatia and Turkey. It was also previously offered temporarily in cities like Baltimore, Boston, Cairo, Kiev and for the Cannes film festival in France.

The program in Mumbai launched this week on a pilot basis but will be expanded in the coming weeks.