"What we're offering is reasonable, not very cheap. The passengers who have done the journey seem to be reasonably happy with the pricing."
Thimmayya said they had held talks with authorities in both countries to enable travellers to drive across in their own vehicles using the ferry 'Scotia Prince' which began operating in early June.
The nine-deck ferry operates twice a week between Colombo and the south Indian port of Tuticorin and can accommodate 1,044 passengers, around 300 tonnes of cargo and vehicles.
"The world over people can drive abroad. There already exists a system where travellers can take a six month permit and drive through," Thimmayya told LBO in an interview.
Travellers wanting to take vehicles across can get the required approvals from the automobile association in their country.
"We are extremely enthusiastic to do this," Thimmayya said. "It is an area which will attract an entirely new set of people and services."
Thimmayya said passenger load factors on the ferry were still not high enough for breakeven and estimates it would take a couple of years for the service to become profitable.
He said the 100 kilo baggage allowance was yet to be used in a big way by passengers.
"As of now not many are using it. There are still not too many traders travelling. We hope somewhere down line we would have people using it. There is an existing market - a community of people trading."Most travellers were tourists and the company has now published fixed schedules which will enable pilgrims to use the ferry service as well, he said.