KOCHI: Never before was the ride on board the State Water Transport Department's (SWTD) ferry service such a pleasurable experience. Forget the rickety, creaking and rotting boats that groaned while lugging the passengers from one boat jetty to another. SWTD's Vega 120 can make other ferry services blush when it comes to speed, comfort and elegance. The journey from Ernakulam to Vaikom takes around 90 minutes.
As it glides out of the Ernakulam Boat Jetty at 5:30 pm with its non-AC section filled to capacity, the passengers gasp in awe as the vessel goes from zero to full propulsion within minutes.
"The vessel is a beauty," said Vega's crew. "It can reach a speed of 25 km/hr and is a viable mode of transportation, especially for regular travellers," said a crew member.
The spacious interior and the gliding motion of the boat are a joy not just for the adults but also for kids who are quick to occupy the window seats to enjoy the breeze and backwaters. "The view outside is beautiful. The breeze and the waves made by the passing boats are so beautiful," shouted Vivek, a seven-year-old boy who is travelling to Vaikom with his parents.
Another factor that eases the minds of the passengers is the ample number of life jackets stored underneath the seats.
"It is something that we have not seen in other boats. It is reassuring to know that if anything happens, nobody will be left gasping for help," said Anil V, a passenger who is a frequent traveller. Besides the snack bar, the music helps in breaking the monotony of the travel.
"Who wants to sit cooped up inside, I like to see the coastline pass by showcasing all its beauty," said another passenger. The journey is not at all tiring, he added.
However, one should not forget the effort put in by the well-trained crew in making the journey a pleasant one.
When the smooth journey hit a snag en route after some waste got tangled in the propellers, the crew swept in swiftly to solve the problem and resume the journey.