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Updated: May 15, 2014 09:51 IST
On the move

Are commercial buildings usurping parking space?

Hiran Unnikrishnan
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Managed parking bays are rare in Kochi, which compel commuters to park on roadsides.
The Hindu Managed parking bays are rare in Kochi, which compel commuters to park on roadsides.

Buildings on MG Road and Banerjee Road encroach parking space for commercial use

Parking can be a huge nightmare in Kochi. Not so much if the authorities could free up the parking space encroached on by commercial buildings in the city.

With acute lack of parking space often creating unending ruckus on city roads, the traffic police is now looking up to the Kochi Corporation to act against builders encroaching on spaces earmarked for parking. “More than 70 percent of the city’s parking woes will be solved if these encroached spaces are reclaimed,” points out a senior traffic official.

According to him, managed parking bays are rare in Kochi, which compel commuters to park on roadsides and then face police action. At the same time, it works just fine for the traffic police, whose cash registers have been ringing with fines collected from vehicle owners.

Citing the commercial buildings, especially on the MG Road and Banerjee Road that have encroached on parking space for commercial use, the official also maintains the view that such violations take place in connivance with the civic authorities.

“A direction to crack down on such violators has been in place for sometime now, though the authorities are dragging their feet on this,” the official warned.

She Taxi network to expand wings

Buoyed by its successful run in the State capital, She Taxi, the country’s first women-only taxi cab service, is now spreading its wings to add more locations in its network.

On May 19, Kochi will become the second city in Kerala to have She Taxis on the road when Chief Minister Oommen Chandy officially launches the service. Later, the service will be introduced in Kozhikode as well, says a release.

Authorities say the urban bodies in Hyderabad and Bangalore have also expressed interest in replicating the She Taxi model and launching similar projects in these cities. “The project has achieved remarkable progress both in terms of popularity and earnings in the last six months. We started this business model to help women entrepreneurs earn a monthly income of at least Rs 20,000, but the incomes are comfortably above that level,” says M.K. Muneer, the Minister for Social Justice.

The customized pink and white taxis, supplied by Maruti, have collectively covered more than 2,00,000 kilometres inside and outside the State. And in just five months of its launch, the network has so far generated about Rs 15 lakh in revenue.

The She Taxi service, first off-campus project initiated by the Gender Park under the Department of Social Justice, has so far received 3,700 trip bookings, night-time travel accounting for around 1,600 of these. The women drivers under the network have made outstation trips to Ponmudi and Munnar within Kerala and to destinations, including Kanyakumari and Thirunelveli, in Tamil Nadu.

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