KOCHI: The commercial services of the Water Metro project will be launched in the first week of March. Before that, on February 22, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will officially inaugurate the prestigious Water Metro. The Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL), which is implementing the project, will launch operations initially on the Vyttila-Infopark route. One advanced vessel will conduct services on the route at a 30-minute interval, with the Cochin Shipyard set to hand over the first boat by the second week of February.
“After a trial run on the Vyttila-Infopark route, the Water Metro will be inaugurated by the Chief Minister on February 22. Commercial operations will be launched on March 1,” KMRL Managing Director Alkesh Kumar Sharma told TNIE.Between February 22 and March 1, KMRL will continue with its trial runs on the Vyttila-Kakkanad stretch to ensure the boat is ready for commercial operations, he said.
The shipyard is under contract to manufacture 23 boats which will be rolled out in a phased manner. After the launch, four boats each will be delivered in March and April. Five vessels will follow in May while the remaining nine boats will be delivered in June. “These boats will be used in other routes. The frequency of services will be rearranged accordingly,” Sharma said.
Under the `747-crore Water Metro project, a total of 76 modernised electric boats will be rolled out in a phased manner in the backwaters of Kochi. The Greater Kochi area will also get 41 modernised boat jetties. Among those, Vyttila, Eroor, Kakkanad, Fort Kochi, High Court, Mattanchery, Vypeen and Bolgatty will be completed in the first phase. “Work on all boat jetties included in the first phase is progressing. We hope it will be completed before the monsoon season. Water Metro services will be extended to these areas by then,” the MD said.
The air-conditioned boats will have features including Wi-Fi, security system, CCTV surveillance and an automated ticket collection system. The plan is to promote a single ticketing system which will enable a passenger to travel in the boats with the help of the Kochi1 card used for travelling on the Kochi Metro.