KOCHI: Sabarimala pilgrims can now rent a bike from the Chengannur railway station to Pampa. The Trivandrum Division of the Southern Railway has embarked on this initiative to ensure better connectivity for pilgrims.
The pilot project was launched on Thursday. According to officials, the Railways will be launching similar facilities at all major stations in both Trivandrum and Palakkad Divisions within a month. The initiative is a first of its kind to be launched in the entire Southern Railway.
Balamurali M, divisional commercial manager, Trivandrum Division, said the facility at Chengannur will be operated by Caferides, a motorcycles renting company based in Kochi. “Chengannur was selected as the premier station for the project as we wanted to cater to the travel needs of the Sabarimala pilgrims,” he said.
The pilgrims can rent Royal Enfield Bullets and Harley Davidsons under the project. Initially, 10 motorcycles, all Bullets, will be available for rent at the station. The bikes can be rented for Rs 1,200 per day or per 200 km (to increase by Rs 100 per hour if time goes beyond the prescribed limit and Rs 6 per km if the distance exceeds 200 km).
According to Balamurali, the rent-a-bike facility will be launched in Ernakulam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kottayam, Alappuzha and Thrissur within a month. “Various companies have approached us and submitted quotations expressing interest in partnering with us to provide a seamless travel experience to commuters,” he said.
‘Rent a car’
The railways is also mulling starting a ‘rent a car’ facility soon. “Talks are in progress with the service providers and we hope to launch the project soon,” he said. Presently, the railways has received quotes for the facilities at Thrissur, Ernakulam and Kottayam.
Speaking about the project, Sanish Rajappan, managing partner, Caferides, at Chengannur said, “We are providing 500 cc Royal Enfields to commuters at Chengannur railway station now. However, the decision to introduce Harley Davidson motorbikes for rent, will be taken soon after holding a meeting with the railway authorities,” Sanish said.