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Transport in Kerala


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Transport in Kerala

Connectivity in KeralaBeing a major centre for tourism, Kerala government has paid a lot of attention to the public transportation system in the state. Railway, airports and roadways are modes of transportation that are utilized efficiently, and since Kerala is riddled with rivers, and canals, the state also has a very good water based transportation system as well. The state is connected to the rest of the country through railways, roadways, as well as through flights, and Kerala has international airports as well, for international travellers who wish to land directly in the state.

Roadways in Kerala

With a grand total 145,704 kilometres of state and national roads already constructed, travellers will find it astoundingly easy to travel to the various major cities in Kerala through public transportation services like buses, or by reserving a private cab. The Department of Public Works in Kerala has been tasked with building and maintaining the roads in the state, and there are already projects proposed, like the Hill highway, which seek to offer even better and faster travelling capabilities to the residents as well as the visitors.

Quick facts about road transportation in Kerala:

  • The road infrastructure of Kerala accounts for 4.2% of the total lengths of road that India has.
  • The average road per thousand population ratio of Kerala is also higher than the country average, and stands at 4.62 kilometres, against the national average of 2.59 kilometres.
  • The fact that Kerala has majorly a water covered area makes the road network in the state even more extraordinary.
  • There is a grand total of 1524 kilometres of roads in Kerala that are a National Highway.
  • A highway project has been proposed and is under consideration that will pass through the hills and connect Malabar and Travancore in a more easily accessible manner.
  • Public and private transportation are easily available in Kerala. Owing to its popularity as tourist state, Kerala has a number of private organisations that work to offer travellers an easy and safe way to travel.
Quick Facts: Kochi is the most important port in the state of Kerala, and sees local as well as international traffic. Thanks to its bustling spice markets!

Kerala State Road Transport Corporation

Rail Transport in KeralaThe organisation is responsible for managing the various state -and operated buses in Kerala. The next time you hop on a bus that is headed towards your next destination in Kerala, you probably have KSRTC to thank for that. Kerala has one of the oldest public bus transport systems in India, and started all the way back in 1937, when the first fleet of buses started providing services to the residents of Travancore. The engines for these 60 buses had to be imported all the way back from England, while the bodies for the buses were made right in Travancore. Today this fleet has grown exponentially, and provides service to the entire Kerala.

From regular buses that run between short distances and are reserved for city transportation, to fully air conditioned premium luxury buses that connect all the major attractions in Kerala, KSRTC has a fleet comprised of 6148 buses, and they run round the clock and follow an incredible 5598 schedules to ensure that locals as well as tourists can travel with the utmost ease.

National Highways in Kerala

There are eight national highways in Kerala and the national highways that pass through the state are NH 17, NH 47 and NH 49. The total extent of roads in the state is around 145704 km. The district with less number of vehicles in Kerala is Wayanad pursued by Idukki and the district that has the highest number of vehicles is Ernakulam followed by Thiruvananthapuram.

Here is a list of some of the national highways in Kerala: National Highway 17, National Highway 47, National Highway 47A, National Highway 49, National Highway 208, National Highway 212, National Highway 213 and National Highway 220.

Travelling by Trains

Trains in KeralaThe Southern grid of the Indian railways has several thousand kilometres of railway tracks already laid out and functioning in the state. The majority of the important towns in Kerala are already part of the railway network, with the exception of those that fall in the highland areas. The most popular and heavily used stations in the state include the ones in Thiruvananthpuram, Kozhikode, Alappuzha, and Ernakulam.

The biggest and most frequently used railway stations in Kerala are: Thiruvananthapuram Central, Ernakulam Junction, Kozhikode, Ernakulam Town – North, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Kayamkulam Junction, Shornur Junction, Palakkad Junction, Kollam Junction, Kannur, Thrissur Railway Station and Kochuveli Railway Station.

The railway network has existed in the state of Kerala since the mid 1880s, and has gradually expanded to cover all major cities, with the Thrissur-Guruvayur- stretch getting completed as recently as 1994.

Important phone numbers of Kerala Railway Zone of Southern Railways

Ernakulam Junction
Reservation Office - 132
Information Office - 131
Pre Recorded Railway Information - 133
Area Manager - 367001, 367002
Station Manager - 369419

Cochin Harbour Terminus
Station Manager - 666001
Reservation Office - 666050

Station Manager - 424128
Reservation Office - 440251
Booking Office - 423150

Station Manager - 622913, 622004
Reservation/Information Centre - 622422

Station Manager - 20237

Station Manager - 555245
Reservation - 555199
Enquiry & Information Centre - 555231

Station Manager - 20200

Station Manager - 701499
Enquiry (Reservation) - 703822
Enquiry (Information) - 701234
Reservation - 704364

Thiruvananthapuram Central
Station Manager - 321568 328437
Deputy Station Manager - 323066
Chief Reservation Supervisor - 329246
Reservation/Enquiry - 132
General Enquiry - 131
Parcel Supervisor - 331564
Booking Supervisor - 321774

Station Manager - 746194
Enquiry - 131
Enquiry-Reservation - 744930

Station Manager - 253865
Reservation Office - 253665

Station Manager - 562933, 563535
Enquiry - 131
Reservation Office - 569966

Station Manager - 69730

Click Here for Information on Trains from Kochuveli Railway Station in Thiruvananthapuram

Buses in Kerala

State Run Buses in Kerala

Kerala has a public transportation bus system that connects all major cities as well as popular tourist attractions. These state-owned and operated vehicles are available in standard as well as air-conditioned deluxe categories. Buses run at frequent intervals, and you will be able to find a bus for your destination after just a few hours wait at the maximum. The frequency of buses dwindles at night, so plan your travel accordingly.

Private Buses in Kerala

There are a number of services that let you hire private buses and coaches. These coaches are available with seating capacity that ranges from 20 to 80, and are ideal for people travelling in large groups.

Taxis in Kerala

For travelling within the city, taxis are simply the most convenient option. They usually charge you a fixed sum for a specified distance, and you can easily book a taxi in advance for a prearranged sum of money so that you will not have to worry about getting overcharged.

Private Cars for Hire in Kerala

Similar to taxis, you can also hire private cars when in Kerala. You are offered a chauffeured service, and the driver will be licensed to drive commercially. The advantage of these private cars is that they can be used to travel to different parts of the state as well. Instead of hourly rates, or distance, you can negotiate a total package which will allow you to visit all the locations in Kerala that you want to travel to in Kerala in a convenient manner.

When you need to travel short distances, auto rickshaws are cheaper as well as faster than taxis.

Auto rickshaws in Kerala

Auto-rickshaws are quite popular in India, and are a trademark way to travel in the country. They are meant for local travels with distances that are usually within 20-40 kilometres from your location. They have a small seating capacity, and if you are travelling in a group of more than 3 individuals, you will need to hire more than one auto rickshaws. Since they are small in size, they can easily navigate narrow roads and small by-lanes, making them more suited for visiting busy areas in the city.

Kerala has a well organised network of auto-rickshaws that operate in all major cities. You are charged as per the distance travelled, and a digital meter lets you keep eye on how much you have travelled. Kerala state government has pricing norms for the auto rickshaw drivers, and you can relax in the knowledge that you will only be charged the fair price, as you whip past small and narrow by-lanes on your way to one of the popular markets in the state.

Did You Know

~ The combined scheduled distance that the buses in the fleet of KSRTC travel in a day is 14,22,546 km and transport roughly 3.1 million people every day.

Kerala State Water Transport Department was formed in 1968.

Waterways in Kerala

Travelling by Water in KeralaWith a total of 44 rivers in Kerala that are navigable, the state also has a superb water-based transportation system. The many backwaters in the state provide an excellent medium for commercial transportation, and visitors can avail the ferry services between nearby towns for a unique travel experience. There is a total of 16 ports in Kerala, and they are fully functional as well. Water-based travelling is not just a major tourist attraction for the state, but is also used commercially for the transportation of goods through large boats. The most popular inland areas in Kerala when you can experience a ferry ride are Alappuzha, Kottayam, Kollam, and Ernakulam.

Kerala State Water Transport Department

Water-based transportation is used all over the state of Kerala, and is so pervasive that the government had to create an entire department for its management. The Kerala SWTD looks after inland water navigation and transportation services, and is specially dedicated towards managing the transportation needs of people living in areas that are permanently or mostly waterlogged. The Minister of State Transportation in Kerala is in charge of SWTD, and the services of the department are available in all five municipal areas of Kerala.

Water-based transportation is used by nearly 1.5 million people in Kerala per year, and in some areas it is the only means to travel and gain access to essential commodities. Especially during monsoon when a large number of remote area in Kerala get cut off from the road based transport network, SWTD steps in and ensures that these areas get food, and medical supplies as per need. Today the department has a total of 13 offices all over the state, and maintains a fleet of boats, fibre glass as well as wooden/steel ones, which it uses as per requirement.

With the state putting so much focus on tourism, SWTD has also risen up to the challenge, and has launched a new website where tourists can find information about the service trips that the department boats offer. These boats can accommodate 50-150 passengers, and are a very cheap, and highly enjoyable way to experience the beauty of the backwaters in Kerala.

Kerala Sea Connectivity

Kerala with a coastline of 590 km has a major dock at Kochi and 16 smaller ports along the coast. The port of Cochin is an all-weather port on India's west seaboard area and has one of the best Turn-Around-Times (TAT) among docks in India. It is now the least congested port in India with containerized traffic moving to the International Container Transshipment Terminal since 2010.

The Kochi port is also a very popular port-of-call for luxury cruise liners from over the world. Kerala has 16 other ports, which are mostly seasonal. Of them expansion is taking place in Thankassery, Vizhinjam, Alappuzha, Ponnani, Munambam, Azhikkal and Beypore.

Major Waterways in Kerala

  • The Vembanadu Lake has Kochi on the north side and Alappuzha in the southern end, which has a length of about 83 kms.
  • West coast canal system starts from Kovalam and extends up to Hosdurg, which has a length of about 560 kms. The Kochi and Kollam parts are the most important in the West coast canal system.

  • West Coast canal runs from Kollam to Kottapuram which has a length of 168 kms.
  • Champakara canal - length 14 km
  • Udyogamandal canal - length 23 kms

Airways in Kerala

Travelling by Air in Kerala

With three international airports already established and working, and with two more such projects announced for Kannur and Pathanamthitta, Kerala is easy to visit, no matter where you live. The airport in Trivandrum also holds the distinction of being the most well managed airports in the country, according to the Airport Authority of India, and was also the first international airport to be established in the state. The Cochin International Airport sees the most footfalls in the year, and the services for air travel in the state are complemented by the airport in Calicut, ensuring easy coverage of Kerala. The international airport in Cochin also happens to be the first airport in the country that was funded by the public and incorporated as a public limited company. The expat community of Kerala funded this airport, with close to 10,000 Keralites living abroad, buying the shares for the airport.

Trivandrum International Airport has the distinction of being the first airport that the state of Kerala has. It is also the first international airport to have ever been built in India that is not located in a metro city.

Contact Numbers of International Airports in Kerala

Trivandrum International Airport
Phone: +91- 471 – 2501424/2501220/2502323.

Kochi International Airport Limited
Phone: +91- 484 - 2 610115/2611322/2610033

Kozhikode Airport
Phone: +91- 483 – 2711314/2710417/ 2710517

Click Here for Information on Transport in Thiruvananthapuram

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