MUMBAI: Bombay had small vessels and ferries, as a medium of journey in the early 19th century and water transport was considered as safe and better than journey by road. Parsi vessel owners of vessels and ships, encouraged and popularized sea transport among the citizens.
Old Bombay city, till the pre-local train era, had used water transport as a medium of transport on a big scale. Mumbai is surrounded by sea on three sides, so water transport had big potential.
Historical account says that, in the earliest 19th century, there were launch services. Steamers were yet to be introduced in Mumbai.
Tiny ferry launches plied at different locations. Light houses dotted the sea sides which guided the launches and ships to their destinations.
Tiny ferry services plied from Carnac Bunder to Panvel and Uran. Travelers in that period used water transport to cross the sea to reach these places which were situated opposite to each other on the eastern side of Mumbai.
Some private companies owned small steamers which operated on western side of the city too. These steamers piled on the western sea route between Bombay, Surat & Bhav Nagar.
Small ships and vessels served the city in those days, when citizens used this mode of transport for going to other city for business and other purpose.
Many historians documented that in those period, travel by road was not only difficult & tedious but also dangerous. Therefore many people in those time preferred steamers and vessels for their journeys for travel or trade centers.
Most of the vessels and ships in those time were owned by Parsis. The Parsi ship owners encouraged water transport. To make the journey through vessels and steamers popular, they spent money on different publicity modes available in those times. Cowasji Jehangir Readymoney was the famous and biggest vessel owner of that time.
Now in the 21st century, traffic of Mumbai has reached its peak. Thus it is being advised by many experts that Mumbai must revert back to its earliest mode of transport. The eastern and western ferry services can relieve Mumbai of traffic jams and transport problems.