KOCHI: In two days, Kochi Metro will chug to Thykoodam, much to the relief of commuters, who at present struggle with the traffic bottlenecks at Vyttilla, Elamkulam and Kadavanthra.
The new phase will be inaugurated on Tuesday and the operations are likely to begin on Wednesday from five new stations – Ernakulam South, Kadavanthra, Elamkulam, Vyttila and Thykoodam.
According to D Dhanuraj, chairperson, Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR), the extension will not only help the public but also bring more revenue to Kochi Metro Rail Limited. “Generally, ridership in Metro is less. Since the new phase connects some major parts of the city, there will be a rise in the revenue too,” says Dhanuraj.
He asserts the service will benefit from the current state of roads in the city. “Most of the roads in Kochi are in a shambles. Even the flyovers are in bad shape. This will prompt people to switch to Metro. Vyttila station is a very important one as it is near the Mobility Hub,” he said.
According to Dhanuraj, Elamkulam and Kadavanthra are prime residential areas. The introduction of feeder service sat these stations will result in more people using Metro. “People should be convinced that Metro is the best option. Feeder services like share autos should begin service soon. We don’t have to wait for the introduction of electric autos, just convert the existing ones to feeder services. People are concerned about the first and last-mile connectivity,” he said.
A check on fare
“KMRL should always have a check on the fare,” he said. He thinks KMRL should introduce seasonal offers. Distribution of ‘Kochi1’ cards should be made easy. “It’s not easy for everyone to get the card from stations. Make it available at shopping centres and malls. Since it is Onam, KMRL can initiate ‘hop-on-hop-off’ services so that shoppers use trains.”
Recently, the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry increased the baggage weight of Metro passengers in the country to 25 kg from 15 kg. “The extension of Metro to Cochin International Airport is still uncertain. A shuttle service from the airport to Aluva Metro Station, bus station and railway station is an urgent requirement. This will boost the public transport system” says Dhanuraj. “The extension will be a blessing to the residents. Metro is the best option to avoid traffic. However, this shouldn’t be an excuse to neglect the state of roads. And, connectivity to the airport will be a jackpot. Even now many going to the airport make use of Metro service to reach Aluva. The amended baggage rule will help more travellers,” says Deepa, a resident.