KOCHI: Residents of Vypeen have hailed the National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC) report, which has suggested extending services of buses reaching HC junction from the island to four important routes in the city.
The routes suggested following a survey are: From High Court junction towards Kaloor with terminals at Kaloor, Kakkanad and Kalamassery; HC junction-Menaka-Pallimukku terminating at Thevara; HC junction-Menaka-Pallimukku as well as HC junction-Kaloor-Kadavanthra, both terminating at Vyttila Hub. The recommendation aims to reduce the number of private vehicles on the road.
Vypeen resident Usha, a salesgirl working in Kaloor, says changing buses everyday to reach her workplace, coupled with the hike in bus fare, means she has to pay Rs 10 extra daily. Due to her meagre income, it is a huge burden, she says.
“Since direct buses are not plying, many opt for private vehicles, increasing traffic as well as our financial burden. The buses stopped at HC earlier, and were later extended to the HC junction. It would be a huge relief for us if the services are extended towards Kaloor and Palarivattom,” she says.
As per the NATPAC survey, around 13,200 people reach HC junction from Vypeen on private buses daily, while 29,500 come on private vehicles. It says half of the private vehicle users coming from Vypeen are willing to shift to public transport if its services are extended to the city.
At present, 78 private buses operate 349 trips from Vypeen, terminating at HC junction daily, says the survery. The survey assumes the typical bus passenger capacity at 46. So, 242 existing trips from the junction and another 395 extension trips from High Court junction to various terminals in the city are proposed. At present, 147 trips can be extended from the junction without changing the existing schedule of buses from Vypeen.
The report says by extending services, thereby avoiding transfer at HC junction, would reduce travel time and cost for commuters from Vypeen. Saying the NATPAC recommendations are favourable for the region, Vypeen MLA K N Unnikrishnan hoped they would be implemented soon. “I have requested the transport minister to implement the suggestions and improve the transportation situation of passengers from here,” he said.
Private bus services from Goshree Island currently terminate at HC junction due to the government order (GO(P)8/2017 Trans) dated March 23, 2017. The first meeting of the Kochi Metropolitan Transport Authority (KMTA) had decided to take up the proposal of bus entry from Goshree Island to the city after a detailed study on the issues regarding route extension, the way forward and the proposal’s implications on the city’s traffic system. It was in this regard that the KMTA CEO requested KSCSTE-NATPAC to conduct a traffic impact study for the extension.