KOCHI: Starting May 4 this year, the city will observe the first Friday of every month as the 'Public Transport Day'. The initiative undertaken by the city-based Centre for Public Policy Research(CPPR) along with various public transportation stakeholders, including the Kochi Metro, private bus operators, autorickshaws, district administration and the Corporation is meant to promote the public transportation system in the district.
The decision was taken at the meeting convened at Kochi Metro office here on Thursday to discuss the city's public transport system. As part of the Public Transport Day, the decision-makers including the District Collector, will switch to the public transport modes for commuting to work.
"We held talks with Collector K Mohammad Y Safeerulla and he has agreed to commute from his camp office to collectorate on public transport modes as part of Public Transport Day. We will take up the initiative with other key persons and hope they will cooperate with the initiative," said D Dhanuraj, CPPR chairman. "An investment of around `10,000 crore was made in the city's public transport system. However, a major chunk of the population still relies on private cars and two-wheelers. If public transport system is popularised, traffic-related issues here can be solved to a great extent," he said.
G P Hari, additional general manager, Urban Transport Wing, KMRL said next month KMRL will be introducing a Journey Planner which will enable the public to plan their journey using the public transport system. According to him, nearly 600 private buses have been fitted with the GPS system and around 100 buses will be having the same facility in a few weeks, As many as nine boats and 15 Metro trains have been equipped with the GPS. "In the next stage, the autorickshaws will also be fitted with the GPS system. We have already started an initiative to bring all the autorickshaws under one platform," he said.
The KMRL has taken the initiative to start a society of autorickshaws-Ernakulam District Autorickshaw Trade Union Society. As part of the project, 300 autorickshaws will be attached to 16 Metro stations. These auto drivers were provided training in December and they will be smartly attired.
Similarly, KMRL has started an initiative to start an online platform for the autorickshaws here. "We have held discussions in this regard. A mobile app is being prepared and we can launch the online autorickshaw within two months," he said.
Several suggestions from the participants, representing the bus owners and residents' associations, came up during the discussions. They made a pitch for ensuring better footpaths, improved roads and steps to tackle shabby treatment from the private bus crew. There was also a demand to improve the public transport system to Goshree Island. Bus owners claimed they are still following the timesheet brought in the 1980s.
Studies conducted on public transport system and facilities reveal
-Only 6 per cent of roads in Kochi have proper footpath.
-As many as 87. 5 per cent of roads have drainages
-Only 8 per cent of roads have closed drainages
- Around 16,000 persons depend on boats daily