ALAPPUZHA: Kerala has launched the first of its kind water taxi service of the State Water Transport Department (STWD) and it is ready to commence from October. After feasibility study was done on the vehicle, SWTD ordered four of such boats to use them as taxi for the public service. State will first test the service by rolling out this 10-seater taxi in the backwaters of Alappuzha, which is a major tourist region.
Shaji V Nair, Director, STWD, said that four boats will be used for the service with all the advanced safety precautions. It is a diesel powered vehicle which will carry 10 passengers at a time and has a maximum speed of 10 nautical miles (35 km) per hour. Every taxi will have three employees too. He added that the boats cost around Rs 50 lakh and the construction of vessel is in the final making. Officials informed that there may be an official inauguration ceremony on 28 September, and the service will start after that.
Boats are built by Navgathi, Kochi based firm, which prior to this has also been behind India’s first solar ferry named Aditya. Like the modern technology, this water taxi will also operate by a specific number which will enable the pickup facility. The charges will be at an hourly basis and at a reasonable price, Shaji ensured.