KOCHI: The launch of the commercial services of the Kochi Water Metro will be delayed at least till May this year. Though the first battery-powered electric boat for the Rs 747-crore project was delivered by Cochin Shipyard last week, the Kochi Water Metro Ltd (KWML) is planning to launch the commercial services only after getting at least six vessels.
The Cochin Shipyard is constructing 23 boats for the project. The next set of vessels is expected to be delivered in the next couple of months and Water Metro officials are planning to launch commercial services only after that.
“We have received only one vessel. We hope that the next four or five boats will be delivered before April so that the commercial services can be launched by May. The construction of boat jetties will also be completed by then,” said a source.
Under the Water Metro project, which is being implemented with the support of the German development bank KfW, 23 boats with a carrying capacity of 100 passengers and 55 boats with a capacity of 50 passengers will be rolled out. Thirty-eight boat jetties will also be modernised. Of this, Vyttila and Kakkanad terminals are almost ready. Though the first route and terminal of the project were officially inaugurated by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan last February, the launch of commercial services was postponed several times.
The initial plan was to launch commercial services on the Vyttila-Kakkanad stretch. “Operating a single boat will not help in getting the desired result of the project. The boats are being launched as a part of feeder services to Kochi Metro, thereby popularising the single-ticketing system where passengers can use the same ticket to travel in various modes of transport in Kochi.
That is why we are waiting for the next set of vessels to officially launch the services,” said a source. The construction of Water Metro terminals is also progressing. The Vypeen, High Court, Eloor, Cheranalloor and Chittoor terminals will be ready by April, sources said.