SWTD fare hike to take effect in December

Minimum fare hiked from ₹4 to ₹6; revision done after a decade

The long-pending demand of the State Water Transport Department (SWTD) to hike minimum fare of ferries to check the department’s loss has yielded result, with the State Cabinet approving fare hike from ₹4 to ₹6.

It is after a decade that the department is hiking ferry fares. “The Cabinet decision will be followed by issuance of a Government Order in approximately two weeks. This will be followed by notification of fares in each sector. The new fares will thus take effect in approximately one-and-a-half months,” said Shaji V. Nair, Director, SWTD.

“The annual income from ticket sale of ₹10 crore is hardly sufficient for the department to meet its expenses. The fare revision has been done to cover the operation and maintenance of the fleet that we have. Dozens of bridges will have to be built at great expense, linking islands with the mainland in several districts, but for ferry services. The fares will remain rock bottom and affordable, even after the revision,” he added.

Aimed at further lessening the gap between income and expenditure, the department is set to introduce water taxis, which can be rented by tourists. “We are also gearing up to roll out India’s first solar cruise boat. Similarly, a backwater tour titled ‘See Ashtamudi’ will take off shortly on the lines of our ‘See Kuttanad’ tour on a double-decked vessel. The design is also ready for India’s first solar-powered roll on-roll off (ro-ro) ferry,” Mr. Nair said.

The SWTD had launched India’s first fully-solar ferry on the Vaikom-Thavanakadavu route in 2017, which ensured reigning in of expense on fuel from ₹8,000 for diesel to just around ₹200.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 3:01:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/swtd-fare-hike-to-take-effect-in-december/article29791183.ece

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