KOCHI: The year 2019 brought good fortunes for the Kochi Metro, which introduced a new travel culture in the city, with its daily average ridership doubling to 68,000 from 30,000 recorded the previous year. The total number of metro riders also increased by 41 lakh, which was 32 per cent more than the total number of riders in 2018.
According to Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) officials, a total of 1,65,99,020 passengers travelled in the metro in 2019 in comparison to a total of 1,24,95,884 passengers in 2018. The officers attributed the surge in ridership to the extension of services to Thykoodam in September.
Until the extension, the metro services were available till Maharaja’s College and the ridership was only 32,000. Soon after the extension of the service till Thykoodam – a total length of 23.5 km – the average ridership saw a steep rise. The single-day ridership touched one lakh on September 13, and crossed 90,000 twice in the same month.
“The year 2019 was huge for Kochi Metro. We are extremely happy that Kochiites used the metro for all their travel needs,” said KMRL managing director Alkesh Kumar Sharma.
The KMRL is now planning to extend the services till Petta by March 2020. With this, the first phase of Kochi Metro, covering the 25km stretch between Aluva and Petta, will be completed.The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has implemented the work on the stretch. The Chambakkara bridge is being converted into a four-lane bridge as part of the metro rail work.
KMRL has also commenced works for the extension of services from Petta to SN Junction (Tripunithura) as Phase 1 (b). The stretch is expected to be completed in 2021 as the agency has set 24 months as its deadline.Moreover, the KMRL is hopeful that the Centre will approve the proposed extension of metro services to Kakkanad via Infopark.
If it goes as per plan, there will be 11 stations along the stretch from JLN Stadium, including Palarivattom Junction, Palarivattom signal, Chembumukku, Vazhakkala, Kunnumpuram, Kakkanad Junction, Kochi Special Economic Zone, Chittethukara, Rajagiri, Infopark I and Infopark II. The state government has already approved the extension project at an estimated cost of `2,310 crore.
“In 2020, we look forward to the Centre’s sanction for the second phase, the inauguration of the Petta stretch, the launch of India’s first Water Metro and plan for the extension of Kochi Metro till Tripunithura,” said Sharma.