Kochi Metro under pressure to reduce ticket rates to increase ridership
KMRL comes up with passes at D2,500 and D700 for monthly and weekly travellers, respectively | Passengers not impressed
KOCHI: Struggling to achieve its full potential, the Kochi Metro is under pressure to reduce ticket rates, including that of trip passes. Such a move, experts reckon, will help improve ridership. Many regulars on the metro have raised the issue of overpriced trip rates, forcing a large number of prospective travellers to stay away from the public utility. They say the Kochi Metro’s aim of achieving one lakh daily commuters will remain elusive if the current rates are continued with.
The Kochi Metro Passengers’ Forum met Kochi Metro managing director Loknath Behera recently, urging him to revise ticket rates and to attract more passengers using innovative ways.The Kochi Metro has come up with passes valued at Rs 2,500 and Rs 700 for monthly and weekly travellers, respectively. Two new student travel cards have also been introduced, allowing unlimited travel on the day pass for Rs 50 and on the monthly pass for Rs 1,000.
“The Kochi Metro is a mass rapid transport system. Its efforts should be to attract the masses. Steps including providing more facilities for ladies will positively impact the ridership. There is a substantial population that chooses not to use the Metro due to its high rates. KMRL should come up with huge discounts to attract more passengers. Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai have implemented such discounts,” says Ebenser Chullikkatt, of the NGO Greater Cochin Development Watch. He is also the founder of the Kochi Metro Passengers’ Forum, which has suggested a special monthly card -- with limited journey for Rs 60 per day -- at a rate of Rs 999.
The Kochi Metro had crossed over one lakh ridership on the day discounts and other offers were given. During the Metro Rail Day celebrations on June 17, when the tickets were priced at Rs 5 for any journey, around 1.11 lakh persons travelled on the network. “Scheduled passengers should be targeted. Now, when the Kochi Metro is seeing around 65,000 daily ridership, it is important for the KMRL to come up with new plans to attract commuters. The extension till Tripunithura is not going to be the solution to touch one lakh ridership,” Ebenser points out.
Students have only 20 working days and need only 40 trips, and hence, giving an unlimited offer such high rates sends out a wrong message, he adds.The lack of takers for the monthly/weekly trip passes also strengthens the demand to bring down the rates. The students’ pass has not charmed riders either. “An unlimited offer for students doesn’t make any sense. My child doesn’t require to make that many trips on the metro. For students at least, the ride can be free,” says Baiju S, the parent of a Class IX student who travels on the metro.