Anyone landing in Kochi can opt for their favourite mode of transport with a single card - as three modes of transport, the Metro Rail, waterway of roadway will be at your service.
Vyttila Hub will be the first of its kind to host the three facilities. If all goes well, the first boat will set sail in less than 50 days.
Though it will connect Thevara to Kakkanad, the first stage will be between Vyttila hub and Kakkanad and the service will be launched from September, according to authorities.
“The boats can accommodate 50 passengers and 10 bikes at a time. Initially, we will launch one boat service from the Vyttila boat jetty to Kakkanad and more services will be rolled out at peak hours,” said Shaji V Nair, Director, Kerala State Water Transport Department (KSWTD).
Commuters can save a lot of time and trouble as the 9-km journey from Kakkanad to Vyttila now takes nearly an hour due to the traffic congestion.
“We expect the services to ease road traffic woes to a certain extent, with passengers from Kakkanad being able to reach the hub within 15 minutes,” said Manoj a commuter.
However, according to the KSWTD Director, the prospects of the service can be assessed only after it is introduced. “Though it is too early to predict public response, more boats will be introduced based on it,” he said.
According to T Elangovan, a scientist with National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC), who led a study on Navigability of Feeder Canals in Kerala - Improvement of Canals in Kochi Region in 2007-08, the city is yet to tap the potential of the canals.
“The congestion in the city can be reduced to a greater extent if the canals, are opened for navigation. Canals with a minimum width of 4.5 metres can be used for the purpose. Moreover, it will reduce the pollution and diseases as the clogged canals are breeding grounds for mosquitoes,” he said.
Thevara-Kakkanad stretch is a part of the Kollam-Kottapuram National Waterway III and the proposed boat services will primarily benefit commuters on the Thevara-Maradu-Champakkara-Vyttila-Eroor-Kakkanad stretch.
The ferry service will also be an alternative mode of transport when traffic is diverted for Metro work.