KOCHI: The Draft Bill for the formation of UMTA (Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority), which will play a key role in revolutionalising the transport scenario of Kochi agglomeration area, will come up before the Cabinet next week. The Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) which propounded the idea had already formulated the plan and submitted it to the state government.
KMRL’s outgoing chief Elias George said the Draft Bill is likely to be discussed at the next Cabinet meeting. “Then it has to be presented for the Assembly’s approval. Once the Assembly passes the Bill, it becomes an Act. The UMTA Act will definitely change the face of Kochi’s transport sector,” said George.
The UMTA will become the umbrella body coordinating the various institutions involved in handling transport services within the Greater Kochi region. It will prioritise actions based on the future transport requirements, besides overseeing the urban transport policy for Kochi in the coming years. Moreover, it will manage the network of integrated public transport, including rail, boats, buses, cabs and autorickshaws.
“Already seven companies have been formed by various private bus operators and they had given their consent to become part of the single ticketing system. The Smart Card for Kochi Metro will be launched soon. Once the UMTA Act comes into existence, it will be easy to implement the single ticketing system. People can use the same ticket for various modes of travel. Kochi will become the first city in the country to introduce such a system,” said George. He said the Water Metro project will turn a reality within two years.
“More than the Kochi Metro, the Water Metro will be the real game changer. Kochi will be elevated to the level of global cities with the commissioning of the Water Metro. Very few cities can claim the privilege of having an intersection of Metro Rail and Water Metro,” said George.
Under the Rs 747 crore Water Metro project, which is implemented with financial support from the German development bank- KfW, 78 high-speed, modern boats will be purchased. “New boat jetties will be constructed and existing ones will be renovated. Once the projects are commissioned, the islanders will get hassle-free connectivity to the city centre,” he said.