There is hardly half a kilometre from Mathrubhumi junction to Kaloor. But even if you put the pedal to the metal you will not be able to cover the distance in 15 minutes. Other than deploying a few policemen to direct the heavy traffic, the authorities are yet to come up with a plausible solution to ease the traffic woes in the wake of Kochi Metro rail work. That too when there are innumerable pocket roads that lie unutilised.
The colossal Metro Rail work has commenced even before the preparatory work has been completed. A simple way out is put up sign boards of various bylanes and their linking routes, said representatives of associations of private bus operators.
Suresh Oommen, secretary, Kerala Bus Transport Association (KBTA) said, “The authorites have deployed a few policemen to regulate the traffic but that is pointless. Commuters do not know where the roads lead unlike the police. Time and fuel can be saved if there are proper indicators.”
He asked “How many know that the Manappattiparambu stretch from Kaloor leads to Edappally and the presence of several such byroads.” RTO B J Antony said the KMRL has of course put some sign boards in various parts of the city. But those are inadequate. “The KMRL can work it out properly only if the police give them a proper data of the bylanes. It should clearly explain where a particular bylane leads to. Unfortunately, an initiative in this regard is yet to come up,” he said. Antony said that the police have failed miserably many a time in controlling the traffic. “For instance, owing to the dearth of police force, traffic wardens have been deployed in many parts of the city whose instructions are most often ignored. When they lose control over the traffic, they stop instructing,” he said.
Adequate parking space should be developed at the Kaloor stadium. “Private vehicles that cannot ply on pocket roads can park at the stadium and commuters can opt for public transport to reach the city,” said the RTO and the KBTA representatives.
“The traffic congestion has increased after the opening of the renovated North ROB. As the road has not been widened, there is no double lane. So a viable option is to reroute the private vehicles,” said M V Sathyan, general secretary, Private Bus Operators Association. “At the outset, the Metro authorities and the then Collector promised that they would widen the stretch from Lissie junction through Judges Avenue, PVS Hospital and Kaloor to Deshabhimani before commencing the work but they didn’t. Hence the alternative is to reroute the private vehicles. If that is not possible, vehicles other than buses, after crossing the bridge, should be diverted to the left to ply over the road near to the petrol pump to reach the SRM Road. From there via Shastha Temple Road, they can reach Kaloor - Pottakuzhi road. Moreover, many private vehicles run with just one or two people which adds to the commotion. Sign boards are a must to create awareness,” he said.
The RTO pointed out that there are many ROBs and bridges that are yet to be used on a massive scale. Though the Salim Rajan ROB has been opened, vehicles opting for it are negligible. “People are still not aware of it. Even the private buses owners have not evinced interest. Earlier, when a new bridge is opened the private bus operators approach the MVD. But we are yet to get an application from them asking permission to ply on these routes,” he said.
V A Martin, secretary, City Permit Autorickshaw Union, said the construction of the Pachalam and Atlantis ROBs should be completed soon and the Kathrikadavu bridge should be extended to St Francis Church to avoid traffic woes.