Now, taxi through Kerala backwaters!

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on October 09, 2020 Published on October 09, 2020

State Water Transport Department to introduce water taxis in Alappuzha

Are you sick of travelling by taxis on roads? Come to Kerala, the God’s Own Country will offer you a ride in water taxis to enjoy the scenic backwaters.

The State Water Transport Department (SWTD) is all set to introduce water taxis in the backwaters of Alappuzha aimed at promoting tourism as well as providing hassle-free travel facilities for people living in various islands in and around Alappuzha.

“Just like taxis on roads, these diesel-powered boats will be available to the public. A mobile number will be provided by the department for booking and the fares would be on an hourly basis that would be fixed by the government”, Shaji V Nair, Director, State Water Transport Department told BusinessLine.

These diesel-powered taxis can carry 10 passengers at a time and the boat has a maximum speed of 15 nautical miles which would allow it to cover the Kottayam-Kumarakom route in less than an hour against the normal two hours journey taken by conventional passenger boats, he said.

This is for the first time in India a water taxi service is being launched and the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is slated to flag off the first service on October 15.

Initially, the department plans to deploy four boats with advanced safety features in Alappuzha this month and another two by the end of December. The service would be extended to Kuttanad area as well, Nair said.

Depending on its success, more such services would be introduced throughout Kerala in a phased manner. The government’s intention is to explore the full potential of water transport and pass on its benefits to the people for cost-effective and environment-friendly transportation.

All the four boats are constructed at a yard in Aroor in Alappuzha at a cost of ₹50 lakh each with a specially designed engine imported from Sweden.

According to him, such water taxi services are definitely going to be a boon for the people living in the water-logged areas who depend on boats and traditional canoes for their travel to the mainland. The commencement of such service would enable them to reach their destinations faster. Each boat will have three employees and these taxis would be parked at the designated areas at the Alappuzha boat station.

Sandith Thandassery, CEO of Navgathi Marine, which designed and manufactured these water taxi series, said that the boats are ideal for short travel passenger transportation. The catamaran hull form ensures low resistance and better stability during operations. It also has an advanced electric power steering system.

It was Sandith’s firm that built India’s first solar ferry, Aditya, in 2017 which is playing in the Vaikkom-Thavanakkadavu route.

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Published on October 09, 2020
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