Kochi: After the success of the state’s first fastest inland ferry ‘Vega-120’, another similar vessel has been rolled out with the Kerala State Water Transport Department (KSWTD) planning to deploy it in the 36-km Kottayam-Alappuzha section by August first week.
“The construction of twin-engine catamaran-type boat at a private boat yard in Aroor is over and the vessel rolled out to water. Now we’ll do the interior. The top speed will be 14 knots (25.9 kmph) and it has a seating capacity of 120 seats – 40 in air-conditioned cabin and 80 normal ones,” said SWTD director Shaji V. Nair.
Earlier, ‘Vega-120’ was launched in the 35-km Vaikom-Ernakulam section in November last year. The service instantly became a hit with commuters as the vessel completes its trip in one-and-a half hours, better than the time taken by buses during morning and evening peak hours. The average revenue collection crossed Rs 10, 000 mark while the daily total cost of operation worked out to Rs 5,606.
“We expect similar response to the second vessel which will have same features as that of ‘Vega’ but will have a different look – the front portion designed to be sleek and round. The vessel was built by Aroor-based ‘Praga Marine’. The commuters could cut travel time by half an hour compared to buses. We also expect many tourists to avail the service,” the official said.
As per the plan, the service is scheduled to begin from Kottayam at 8 am and reach its destination by 9.10 am. It will then operate multiple services to tourist destination of Kumarakom before returning to Kottayam in the evening.
“The boat will take only 20 minutes to reach Kumarakom from Alappuzha while those travelling by road will take one to one-and-a half hours to cover the distance,” the official added.
The fares are yet to be fixed and will be almost similar to that of ‘Vega’. A commuter travelling in the latter has to dole out only Rs 40 for one-side travel in ordinary class while travel in AC cabin will cost Rs 80.
The boat service is expected to be handy for passengers during the monsoon season when the AC road will be flooded at many parts and the vehicular movement restricted....