For One-Year-Old Kochi Metro, the Ride to Success Has Just Begun

As part of the celebrations, commuters can enjoy free rides all day on June 19.

New Delhi: Kerala’s Kochi Metro has completed a year of service. Inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 17 last year, the Metro was one of the fastest in the country in terms of completion time.

Kochi Metro officials are planning a host of programmes to mark the occasion. The celebrations began by cutting a cake at the Edapally Metro station, which was followed by a show by noted magician Gopinath Muthukad.

APM Mohammed Hanish, MD of Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL), said as part of the celebrations, commuters can enjoy free rides all day on June 19.

He added that there will be discounts for the issuance of Metro card and seasonal tickets, apart from lucky draw for commuters.

The 500 Metro employees will plant one sampling each at the Muttom maintenance yard.

E Sreedharan, the man behind Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), was the principal adviser for the Kochi Metro project, which is a class apart from its contemporaries.

Integrated Transport System

The Kochi Metro is India’s first integrated multi-mode transport system. KMRL has mooted buses and auto services as feeders from metro stations. The buses have been fitted with GPS, making safety the priority. It is also coming up with a journey planner app where commuters can track the movement of the feeder services.

Adding a gem to the Queen of the Arabian Sea, the water metro project of the KMRL will integrate water transport as feeder service to the Metro. The Rs 747 crore worth project is expected to be implemented by 2020 and will connect 10 islands with financial assistance from a German bank.

Social Inclusion

The Kochi Metro received praise for its decision to hire transgenders for jobs ranging from ticketing to maintenance. KMRL also boasts of a significant share of women in the workforce.

Green Initiative

The Kochi Metro has solar panels installed on the rooftops and 16 stations generate up to four MWp (Mega Watt Peak). KMRL is also planning to install more solar panels to increase the usage up to 6.3MWp.

Challenges ahead

In a city like Kochi, which is reeling under traffic congestion, the Metro was introduced to bring the much-needed respite. To ensure that, there is a need to increase the number of people using the service.

As per official estimates, the ridership has doubled from 20,000 to 40,000 per day. The KMRL is confident that the extension of service to Petta in 2019 and the third phase of extension to Angamaly from Aluva via Nedumbassery will boost the ridership.

Congratulating the Metro for completing a year, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said its operations were on the right track and there had been a significant increase in revenue.

The Rs 6 crore loss it incurred in the initial six months has been brought down to Rs 3 crore, he added.

With more people using personal vehicles, making the public transport system profitable would be a herculean task. In Kerala, reports about a crisis in Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) are already doing the rounds.

In the case of Kochi Metro, top-notch services can make a difference. However, commuters have expressed apprehensions over the high fares. There were reports of decline in ridership figures in Delhi Metro after fare hikes.

KMRL can probably take lessons from this and provide affordable prices. Besides, ensuring quality services and covering more area would help increase the footfall.

For the Kochi Mtero, the ride has just started. Success is a far destination, but is definitely reachable.