Train, bus and hotel bookings surge as Mumbai braces for long weekend


Mumbai residents are bracing for the long weekend starting with the Dussehra holiday on Friday through Eid-e-Milad on Tuesday. Friday will see a surge in travel outside of stations with trains and buses packed with vacationers and private tourist vehicles also booked.

Trains going to Goa from Mumbai were almost fully booked for Friday and Saturday.

“Considering the holiday season, we have already restored many special services that worked before Covid for passenger comfort,” said Shivaji Sutar, Central Railway CPRO.

Crowded trains and buses can see violations of social distancing standards, although all carriers maintain they are taking precautions.

Maharashtra State Transport Department Corporation (MSRTC) buses, which previously had a daily passenger average of around 24 lakh, increased to 28 lakh on Thursday and that number is expected to rise over the weekend.

“During the Navratri season, pilgrimage tourism increases and it is likely to increase more during the weekend,” an MSRTC official said. He said behavior appropriate to Covid was followed on buses.

Harsh Kotak, a private tour bus operator, said: “Although our school bus business is totally gone because of Covid, we are really happy that this weekend we almost covered 70% of our pre-business activity. Covid. Reservations are full as most Mumbai and MMR locals plan to go on weekends. Besides the nearby tourist destinations like Matheran, Alibaug, Lonavala, Khandala and Mahabaleshwar, Goa is a hot spot for this weekend.

Hotels, guesthouses, and villas in Alibag, Matheran, and Lonavala are mostly full for the weekend, and rates are high for the remaining rooms.

Vinayak Gawade, owner of Swamichaya Resort and Shivprasad Cottage in Alibaug, said there had been advance reservations for the weekend and the beaches were already crowded.

“We follow Covid standards and keep the premises disinfected,” Gawade said.

The Mumbai-Pune Expressway, Mumbai-Nashik Expressway and Mumbai-Konkan roads are likely to be congested on Friday, with many people traveling to vacation destinations in their private vehicles.

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