Kerala to get 10 seater 'water taxis' starting October
Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 15: Kerala is all set to experiment with a 10-seater water taxis, the first of which will be launched on October in the backwaters of Alappuzha district, which is a key region on the state's tourist map.
The state water transport department (SWTD) had placed orders for four boats that can be operated as taxis for public use after conducting studies last year.
"Just like taxis on roads, these boats will be available for the public. They can call on a specific phone number and the boat will pick them up and drop them at their destination. The tariff will be on a per-hour basis and will be reasonable," said director, SWTD.
"It's a Catamaran diesel-powered boat with comfortable seating capacity for 10 people. It will have a speed of 15 nautical miles per hour and can therefore take commuters quickly to their destinations," he added.
Unlike the regular fleet of the SWTD which operate on fixed routes, the 'water taxis' will simply be connected to a boat station and can be hailed anywhere.
The boats have been built by Navgathi, a Kochi-based firm that gave India its first solar ferry Aditya which was the world's best electric boat as part of the Gustave Trouve awards this year.
Sandith Thandasherry, founder-CEO of Navgathi said the Catamarans are more efficient than the usual boats from a fuel perspective.
The boats are built in fibre with an efficient design in an attempt to reduce fuel consumption. At high speed, the boats will only burn 30 litres per hour, Thandasherry said.
They also come with an advanced electric power steering system as well as a solar panel powered auxiliary unit (CIPS), both developed in-house by the company's research wing.