Kochi: Soon enjoy health drink 'Neera, coffee or tea or light refreshments during boat rides, reminiscent of the yesteryear services. The State Water Transport Department (SWTD) has decided to set up 'snack bars' in its passenger-cum tourist boat services after the initial experiment in Parassinikadavu-Valapatnam section in Kannur brought them rich bounties.
"We refurbished interior of a boat there and set up a snack bar as the service used to cater to tourists besides local passengers. We're surprised to see huge demand thereafter with daily collection increasing from average Rs 7000 to Rs 20, 000," said Shaji V Nair, SWTD Director.
The department has entered into an agreement with a private company, marketing the coconut water-based product, to make available the health drink and other refreshments in its fast ferry 'Vega-120', deployed in the Vaikom-Ernakulam section.
"The boat has an in-built 'snack bar' area and the passengers can have light refreshment during the journey that takes over an hour," the official said.
The SWTD also plans to open the 'snack bars' in all boats conducting service to Kuttanad region, another tourist destination.
"The 'See Kuttanad' boats too have inbuilt snack bar facility," he added.
"In earlier days, when water transport was the main mode of travel in the state, vendors used to sell tea or coffee or light snacks in services like Ernakulam-Kottappuram. Then the Ernakulam boat jetty was the most happening place. After that, road transport began to grow in share and subsequently such long-haul services stopped. Now, the water transport is again on the revival path with such long-haul services," said Subrahmanian N., a Vypeen native.