KOCHI: Expanding to new routes, feeder services and integration with other modes of transport is crucial to attract more riders and to ensure financial feasibility of the Metro project. Only a small portion of the big project has been realised now with the proposal to extend the Metro line to Kakkanad (Infopark) from Jawaharlal Nehru stadium and Tripunithura to Petta is still on conceptual stage. Connectivity with the IT hub of the city will further increase its viability when the 11.2-kilometre long Kakkanad line is completed, at an estimated cost of Rs 2016.46 crore.
As per the detailed project report, the Infopark line will have high ridership with an expected rate of 1.26 lakh passengers per day in 2021 and 1.98 lakh passengers in 2031. Meanwhile, providing Metro connectivity to the Cochin International Airport and further to Angamaly would improve transportation facilities in the region and will also attract a high number of riders. Local bodies in the area have urged Kochi Metro Rail Limited and Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) to take the initiative to connect Metro with the airport. It is expected that Metro would be linked with the airport in the third phase.
Completion of Water Metro project, proper connectivity between Metro other modes of transport and seamless ticketing are some of the other significant components to make the Metro system more feasible and widely used. Since the western Kochi area is currently out of the Metro expansion map, the proposal to introduce tram service from the city will help the region to get connected with the Metro system.
Parking areas identified
With the Kochi Metro set to begin commercial operations from Monday, the Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) five locations along the Aluva-Palarivattom section where it is planning to set up multi-level parking facility. “The problem is the availability of vacant land. We’ve tried our best and identified five locations where the parking facility could be set up in the stretch. We plan to go for vertical parking through Public-Private Partnership so as to accommodate maximum vehicles,” said Elias George, managing director, Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL).
The authorities expect a huge number of people to turn up initially. “The ridership estimate for the first phase stretch is 3.8 lakh per day. However, we expect the footfall initially to be high. Joyriders from across the state are expected to arrive and the trend might be witnessed up to six months,” the official said. The authorities plan to exhort the public not to use personal vehicles as far as possible. The KMRL has also tied up with KSRTC to deploy 80 buses to conduct services based from Aluva and Edapally metro stations so as to provide last mile connectivity to the metro commuters.