October 13, 2020
Good news for tourists and boat lovers, as AC high-speed boats which had been suspended following the outbreak of Covid 19, are now back in service in Kerala.
The biggest attraction of these boats is that the passengers can complete the journey without getting stuck in any traffic congestion and without getting exposed to smoke and dust on the roads.
The AC boats of the Waterways Department runs on the Ernakulam, Vaikom, Alappuzha and Kottayam routes.
However, the service was suspended in the wake of the Covid epidemic and in the current scenario, the service will resume in compliance with the Covid protocols.
A boat can carry up to 120 passengers, three times as many people at a time as buses, 40 AC seats and 80 non-AC seats.
On the Ernakulam-Vaikom route, AC fare is Rs 80 and the non-AC fare is Rs 40. On the Alappuzha-Kottayam route, the fare is Rs 100 for AC passengers and Rs 50 for non-AC passengers.
Normal boats travel at a speed of 13-14 kilometres per hour while AC boats travel at a speed of 25 kilometres.
The AC boat will leave Kottayam at 7.30 am and reach Alappuzha by 9.30 am, and in return direction, leave Alappuzha at 5.30 pm to reach Kottayam by 7.30 pm.
The service is arranged such that passengers, including regular office goers, can reach Alappuzha in less time without any traffic jams on roads.
Five stops have been sanctioned between Alappuzha and Kottayam at Punchiri, Mangalassery, Kamalante Moola, Krishnankutty Moola and Pallam.
Between the morning and evening passenger services, two sightseeing services have been planned to depart from Alappuzha and will travel via Punnamada, Muhamma, Kaipuram, Pathiramanal and Thanneermukkam Bund to reach Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary at noon and return.
These trips are arranged in such a way as to provide an opportunity for tourists to enjoy the sights of major tourist destinations like Pathiramanal, Kumarakom and the bird sanctuary.
The Alappuzha – Kumarakom ticket price is Rs 300 for AC and Rs 200 for non-AC.
A boat has five employees – two lascers, an engine driver, a driver (srank) and a technical staff. A snack bar has also been set up on the Alappuzha boat with the help of Kudumbasree.