KOCHI: The single ticketing system introduced in Kochi aimed at helping passengers to use various modes of transport using Smart Cards will be extended to other cities, including Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram. The move is to attract more passengers to the public transportation system, reducing the number of private vehicles on roads, said Minister for Transport A K Saseendran after the agreement signing between Axis Bank and private bus operating companies for introducing Kochi1 Metro card to bus commuters on Thursday.
"In Kerala, one-third of the total population has its own vehicles, mainly two-wheelers. The increasing number of vehicles is the reason for heavy traffic congestion on our roads. "The increasing traffic jams prompt the drivers for rash driving, which is the main reason for the increasing number of accidents."In last year alone, a total of 45,000 accident cases were reported in the state in which 10 per cent, that is 4,500, lost their lives. In order to overcome this situation, we need to devise plans for reducing the number of vehicles on roads. For this, the public transport system needs to be strengthened," said Saseendran.
The minister said that novel ideas like single-ticketing system will attract more people to public transportation. "We will have to think of extending the service to other districts too. A meeting of various stakeholders should be convened and the formation of a consortium for the purpose can also be considered," he said.
Kochi1 card on buses
Meanwhile, the service of Kochi1 Metro card will be extended to private buses in Kochi too. The officials of KMRL and Axis bank signed an agreement with the representatives of seven private bus companies for ticketing through Kochi1 Card. The passengers will be able to swipe their metro card for travelling in private buses in another five months and according to the agreement, nearly 1,100 buses will join hands with KMRL in this venture.
"The new system would bring about the extensive usage of the Metro card and would go a long way in ensuring multimodal integration of transportation facilities," said KMRL managing director A P M Mohammed Hanish.The Kochi1 card will be available for the passengers at a total cost of Rs 237 which include Rs 150 as the price of the card, Rs 75 annual fee and Rs 12 for loading/recharging cash. The passengers can top up the card through cash, debit or credit card.
The cardholders will also get a 20 per cent discount on Metro fare and 5 per cent waiver on taxes while paying the utility bills. The card can be used for shopping purposes anywhere in India. Exclusive dining delights offer on local merchants are another advantages of the card.Sanjeev Moghe, executive vice president (cards), Axis Bank, said separate cards will be rolled out to help students."The scheme and details will be finalised after holding discussions with the officials concerned," added Moghe.
The seven private bus companies that inked the deal for the Smart Cards are Kochi Metropolitan Transport Co-operative Society Ltd, Perfect Bus Metro Services, Kochi Wheelz United, My Metro, Muziris, Prateeksh Transport Operators Organisation Pvt Ltd and Greater Cochin Bus Transport.