KOCHI: When the public transportation system functions efficiently, commuters cease to depend on private vehicles. However, for the former to operate effectively, gaps in the system must be addressed promptly. To examine such faults and spread awareness on the advantages of using public transport, the Centre for Public Policy Research had initiated a year-long campaign, ‘Kochi Public Transport Day’, in January 2018, wherein the third Wednesday of every month would be devoted to programmes highlighting the need to rely on public transport at least once a month.
This would also encourage private vehicle owners to shift to public transport, thereby reducing traffic jams and pollution. The campaign which ran for 14 months, had a short hiatus and will kickstart its second part in November.“The campaign was funded with the Alumni Grand by the US State Department received in 2017-18. The Kochi Mayor (Soumini Jain), Hibi Eden MP and I had conceptualised the campaign.
Now that the funds are over, we’re looking to collaborate with public sector undertakings to revive the project and apply it on a much larger scale. A detailed plan has been developed and we aim to have an outreach of at least one lakh families,” said D Dhanuraj, chairperson, Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR).
As per the campaign, CPPR would research a transport-related project every month and present their findings to authorities concerned. “Some have been implemented and a few are partially completed. A baseline survey was conducted before the campaign. We are just a catalyst to build awareness. This has to become a collective of the public. Relying on public transport has not been addressed much as data is unavailable. Such challenges have to be addressed.
Which is why our next part is bigger and on a large scale. We intend to improve the existing transport system,” he said.In the first phase, programmes were conducted at St Alberts College and St Teresa’s College, Ernakulam wherein students had pledged to use public transport on a regular basis. Theatres and groups such as the Residents’ Association, Merchants’ Union are part of the campaign.