SWTD to launch water taxis in Alappuzha next month

Just like hiring an autorickshaw or taxi, the people of Alappuzha can soon hire a boat for traveling from one place to another through the backwaters. In a first in the State, the State Water Transport Department (SWTD) is all set to launch water taxi services in the district in the first half of October.

 According to Shaji V. Nair, director, SWTD, a catamaran diesel-powered craft will be used for the purpose. “We have placed orders for four boats, of which the first boat will set sail next month. It is a taxi service on waterways. The boat with a seating capacity for 10 passengers will provide comfortable travel. For hiring a water taxi, people should contact a number that will be published soon. The boat will pick the passengers and drop them at their destination,” he says.


Mr. Nair says the public can use the service at reasonable rates. “The tariff will be announced after getting the approval from the government,” he says. Water taxis can cruise at a maximum speed of 19 knots (35 km/hour). The vessels are being constructed by Kochi-based Navgathi Marine Design and Constructions Private Limited, which built the country’s first solar ferry, Aditya. Sandith Thandasherry, CEO of Navgathi, says the first water taxi will be delivered to the SWTD by the month-end.

Better safety

“With multiple hulls, catamarans have enhanced safety. They need less power, which makes them more fuel-efficient. The design is in a way that the boat can be used as taxis and as a rescue vessel, in case of an emergency. Due to its smaller size, the craft can reach anywhere,” Mr. Thandasherry says.

The boat comes with a 250-horse power outboard diesel engine imported from Sweden. Besides, it has an electric power steering and solar panel atop to provide enough electric energy to fulfil all the power requirements, including lights, fan, and control systems.

The location and launch of the rest of the three water taxis will be decided later.

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