United Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA) may be implemented in three phases, said the Corporation authorities after a meeting of council members and other authorities, with representatives from consulting agency Deloitte, Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) and Vytilla Mobility Hub Society (VMHS) here on Tuesday.
UMTA is designed to integrate bus, train and boat services so as to make the public transport system in the city more effective. At present, 70 per cent of people in the city do not have access to public transport. Only a handful of cities have implemented UMTA in India. The Corporation had said in its budget that the existing public transport system in Kochi is largely inadequate and not people friendly. The new move is to unify and to further the changes brought in by major projects in the city such as metro rail and Vytilla hub.
“By the time the metro rail gets commissioned, UMTA should be implemented in Kochi. It’s a compulsion on the KMRL”, said KMRL Managing Director Elias George. The meeting discussed a wide range of suggestions from various quarters of the civil society on how to implement UMTA in the city. The main concern in the meeting were on two broader issues, on admission in the governing body of the UMTA and the limits of the administrative capacity of UMTA. While councilors suggested that public figures and people’s representatives should be allowed to participate in UMTA administration, various public personalities shared their apprehensions about how UMTA will be able to introduce changes such as a centralised ticketing system when private bus organisations control the majority of the city’s traffic.
“The implementation may need a separate legislation”, said K J Sohan, chairman of the Town Planning Committee. The three phased implementation, generally agreed at the end of the meeting, proposes UMTA as a coordination agency in the first stage, to develop it as a regulatory body in the second stage and to make it an independent body in the final stage. The Corporation will report the suggestions of the meetings to the state government while the consulting agency will report to the Ministry of Urban Development. Team leader of Deloitte Allan Kennard, senior manager of Deloitte Sumit Mishra, Corporation secretary Ajit Patil, mayor Tony Chammani, KMRL MD Elias George and VMHS managing director M Beena attended the meeting along with members of the council among others.