Kochi Water Metro to begin service on Mattanchery route by November

"Once the metro terminal work at Mattanchery is completed, the next route will become operational from Hight Court Junction,” said Sajan John, CEO of Kochi Water Metro.
The construction work of Water Metro Mattanchery terminal in progress
The construction work of Water Metro Mattanchery terminal in progressPhoto | Express

KOCHI: Soon, Kochi Water Metro will expand its network to Mattanchery as the work on the terminal that hit many hindrances has gathered pace. According to the Kochi Water Metro officials, the new route will become operational by November 2024. 

“Cochin Shipyard Ltd is scheduled to deliver two more boats this month. We expect the completion of the water metro terminal work at Mattanchery by November. Once it is completed, the next route will become operational from Hight Court Junction to Mattanchery,” said Sajan John, CEO of Kochi Water Metro.

The construction work of Water Metro Mattanchery terminal in progress
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At present, 14 ferries of Kochi Water Metro operate on five routes – High Court to Fort Kochi, High Court to Vypeen, High Court to South Chittoor, South Chittoor to Cheranalloor, and Vytilla to Kakkanad.

“As the patronage on the High Court to South Chittoor and South Chittoor to Cheranalloor route is less, trips on these routes are less. However, once more boats are received, the trips will be increased,” said an official with Water Metro. On average, Kochi Water Metro has a daily ridership of 5,000. “Owing to the summer vacation, the average daily ridership crossed 6,000 per day in April and May,” the official added. 

The construction work of terminals at Paliyamthuruth, Kumbalam, Willingdon Island, and Eroor is progressing.

Meanwhile, Kochi Water Metro’s proposal for the construction of 21 terminals to AFD, the French Development Agency, the funding agency of Kochi Water Metro, was revised. “It has been decided that instead of inviting tenders for all the 21 terminals together, the tenders would be floated for one terminal at a time. The immediate tender for the construction of Ernakulam Boat jetty terminal will be floated soon,” said a KWML official. 

The construction of the terminal at Mattanchery was re-tendered and awarded to Ernakulam-based firm Crescent Contractors last year. The work on the terminal began in December 2023. As per norms, the work on the terminal should be completed within 10 months. The construction was stalled at the initial stage due to the withdrawal of a contractor. However, it gained steam after the Mattanchery water metro action council met the chief minister, and also got a favourable order from the High Court. The metro terminal will be constructed on 1.5 acres.

The jetty platform, where boats can approach, will be built on a bridge that extends to the waterbody. The plan is to enable the smooth service of the ships during low tides.

For residents and traders of Mattanchery, the news comes with much joy, as water transportation for them is a much-needed facility. Fort Kochi and Mattanchery are two prominent tourist spots in the city. Mattanchery attracts hundreds of tourists daily because of its rich history and popular heritage sites. Despite being a prominent tourist spot, Mattanchery lacks water transport connectivity. 

“We hope that the Water Metro service to Mattanchery will attract more tourists to the place that will improve the livelihood of the people here. Moreover, it will also ensure easy connectivity to the mainland in less time compared to travel by road,” said Arafath Naser, a member of the Mattancherry Water Metro Action Council. 

Meanwhile, M M Abbas, president of the West Kochi Passengers’ Association, stressed the need for introducing State Water Transport Department’s boats.

“For a common man, affording a water metro ticket fare is impossible compared to the SWTD’s, which is less than Rs 10. SWTD’s boat services to and from Mattanchery Boat Jetty were halted in 2018 following floods,” he said. “Though the irrigation department renovated the boat jetty a year ago, the service is yet to be resumed as it failed to complete the dredging work,” he added.

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