If you have a thing for ferry boats, you can say ‘ola’ to rides over the mighty Brahmaputra, booked seamlessly on the app. Welcome Ola River Taxis. By Shreya Guha
Ola boats is now a real thing. The Bengaluru-based cab-hailing company began the test run of the first ever river taxi service in Guwahati on February 7, 2018. This test run comes after the memorandum of understanding signed between the Government of Assam and Ola during the recent Global Investors Summit held in the city. Ola is likely to roll out the service to the public within a week.
The Assam government had expressed its desire to start a water taxi service to reduce the travel time between the city and its airport, back in March 2017. “A jetty will be developed near the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport. The water taxis will take the visitors from the jetty in the city to the proposed jetty near the airport.” Assam Industry Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary had said. In about an year, the city has the service in place.
The 15-20 seater river taxis are proposed to be machine-operated boats, a faster and safer mode of travel than its conventional alternative. The high-speed taxis will ply from Lachit Ghat, Machkhowa to North Guwahati, bringing the commute time down to 2-5 minutes from 45 minutes by road. For the city that holds water transportation as an important mode of communication, the service comes as a welcome surprise. While it took nearly an hour to reach the airport from the city by road, through the Brahmaputra River Channel, commuters will now be able to cover 15 kilometres in just 15 minutes.
While the river taxi service will also help boost tourism in the city, it may face troubles during the rainy season when the water in Brahmaputra rises to tremendous levels, making it dangerous for boats to commute. It’ll be a note-worthy breakthrough if the pilot succeeds. In long-term, Ola plans to provide intercity connectivity across Assam through river taxis.
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