Vessels to have more passenger capacity
The State Water Transport Department (SWTD) will launch two catamaran-type ferries in Kochi by March, to replace a pair of steel vessels that operate in the region.
The catamaran vessels will have more passenger capacity than the existing ones, since they have seats for 100 passengers. They would also offer more comfort to passengers, in the form of better ride quality and less noise from the engine, said SWTD Director Shaji B. Nair. The vessels will also be more durable than steel ferries, which are prone to corrosion since they operate close to the sea.
The department is also gearing up to launch within a month a sister vessel of Vega-120, which has been operating on the Vaikom-Kochi-Fort Kochi route for the past two years. The new vessel will operate on the Kottayam-Alappuzha-Kumarakom stretch.
Vega-120 was an instant hit with commuters, despite its higher fare structure, since it operates at double the speed of conventional ferries. The collection of the vessel touched ₹40,000 on New Year’s Eve, when it operated up to 1 a.m., keeping in mind the influx of people to view the revelry at Fort Kochi, said Mr. Nair. He termed as untrue reports in a section of the media that Vega-120 was pulled out of service for the past many months. “It was withdrawn from service for mandatory dry docking for about a month, in the last quarter of 2019.”
On ferries being unable to call at Mattancherry jetty due to shallow waters in the vicinity, the SWTD Director said it was the responsibility of the Irrigation Department to dredge the premises. “We hope it completes the task by March,” he said.
Passengers from the area were critical of SWTD officials and people’s representatives not pro-actively intervening to dredge the waterbody around the jetty, despite ferries stopping service a few years ago.
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