The pre-launch of the first river taxi which would ply on Brahmaputra took place at Lachit Ghat, Machkhowa on Tuesday. Homegrown cab-hailing company Ola has inked MOU with Government of Assam to pilot an app-based river taxi service in Northeast India’s financial hub Guwahati.
The Government of Assam has invited The Maritime Group (International) to provide water taxis for the Brahmaputra, in Guwahati. For now the taxis will only operate in daytime.
A MoU was signed with them during the Advantage Assam Global Investor Summit on February 3-4 at Guwahati.
Patsloke Marine, a part of TMG (Asia), delivered PATSLOKE I, an eight-seater passenger boat, for pre-launch on Tuesday. It travelled between the south and north Banks of the Brahmaputra. However, the official launch will happen later which will be attended by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and other dignitaries.
While Ola will provide the app, the boats will be provided by TMG. The first eight seater boat was used for trial launch. The speed of the boats will be 30 km per hour.
The river taxis will be machine-operated, which is faster than the ones in use and will help bring down the commute time down to 2-5 minutes from 45 minutes by road. These high-speed taxis will be operated on the Lachit Ghat, Machkhowa to North Guwahati route.
K Srinivas Patnaik, MD, TMG (Asia) said, “This is just the trial run. The boats will only operate during the daytime now. If everything goes well, then it will be officially launched in two weeks. Also they won’t run when the Brahmaputra is flooded during monsoon.”