Trial run of the service showed boats could bottom out at shallow stretches of the Kadambrayar river

The State Water Transport Department (SWTD) may extend the Vyttila Mobility Hub-Kakkanad passenger ferry service up to SmartCity. The Kakkanad service will be launched from Vyttila on November 19. Union Minister K.V. Thomas will flag off the service.

A trial run of the service, up to the proposed IT hub, showed boats could bottom out at some shallow stretches of the Kadambrayar river. The Irrigation Department is now deepening the river.

Sources said extending the service to SmartCity would be beneficial as the NH Bypass and Palarivattom-Kakkanad Road were clogged with traffic. Two new boats have been acquired to run the service. “One of them will be kept as standby,” said SWTD director Shaji B. Nair.

The Steel Industries Limited-Kerala built the boats at Rs.52 lakh apiece. Each boat can carry 50 passengers and 10 two-wheelers. A new boat jetty has been built at Vyttila to safely move two-wheelers into the boat.

Passengers will be charged Rs.8 per head. The charge to ferry two-wheelers will be Rs.25. “The boats can travel at speeds of up to 10 knots (18 km per hour); faster than ferries in operation. The 5-km Vyttila-Kakkanad waterway can be covered in 20 minutes. They also have better acoustics to minimise engine noise,” Mr. Nair said.

Though the waterway, part of the National Waterway III, is navigable at night, SWTD has scheduled 10 day trips.

“We are open to plying at night, depending on passenger patronage,” Mr. Nair said.

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