Amphibian buses have a capacity to carry 32 persons and cost Rs 2 cr. Amphibian Tours plans to introduce six such buses for tourists over a year
How about travelling across the buzzing lanes of a city and over beautiful river waters on a single vehicle? Won’t that be an addition to the long list of must-do things in the ‘perfect holiday destination’? Add to that the perfect view of mangroves and a bird sanctuary along the way, and you get a complete ‘Go Goa’ experience.
Known for its sea, beaches, sunshine, seven rivers, music and food, Goa is now going to also be home to the country’s first ‘amphibian’ bus service. These buses, each with a capacity to carry 32 persons and costing about Rs 2 crore (Rs 20 million), will run on both road and water. The state government has awarded the contract to Amphibian Tours (P) Ltd to launch the service by next month.
Automobile Corporation of Goa Ltd (ACGL), a Tata group company, has built these buses in technical collaboration with Amphibious Designs India Pvt Ltd (ADI), affiliated to the US-based Advanced Ambitious Design. The company is likely to deliver the first lot of two buses by August-end.
Amphibian Tours is planning to introduce six buses for tourists over a year. It will get two more buses from the manufacturer in the next six months and the remaining two in a year’s time.
Such services are common in popular global river and lake cities like Austin, Baltimore and Washington. These buses can run at a maximum speed of 94 km per hour on roads, and at eight knots in water.
The Goa service would take tourists for sightseeing through land and water. The operator would use the river navigation department’s ferry ramps to enter and exit the river, said Amphibian Tours Director Carlos de Sousa. “We have been awarded the contract by Goa Tourism Development Corporation for 10 years. We hope to commence operations by September this year, subject to necessary approvals from the government,” he added.
Two routes have been identified for the service. The first, called the Hinterland Route, will showcase the mangroves and a bird sanctuary.
The places covered will be Panjim to Ribandar, around the Chorao Island and Dr Salim Ali bird sanctuary.
The second will be the Heritage Route, where churches and monuments will be showcased. It will be from Panjim to Old Goa and back. “The fare for the trip will be between Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 per person and vary on the basis of seasons, dates and times,” de Sousa informed.
A senior ADI executive said the bus is made from Grade-A marine steel, unlike the ordinary bus body. This increases the input cost. The average life of a vehicle is 15-20 years. “The investment can be recovered in three-and-a-half years.” ADI intends to supply such buses to the tourism department across the country and then tap the customers who could use it for industrial, road transport and government projects, or emergency rescue operations.
Note: The image is used for representative purpose only.
Image: A Duck tour boat gets out of the River Thames in London. Photograph, courtesy: Commons.Wikimedia.org