Ferry services from Vyttila Mobility Hub to Kakkanad and Thevara is expected to begin within two months. The deadline to construct the jetty would expire by the end of this month, but it is doubtful whether the works will be over by then. Stakeholders are awaiting its speedy construction and operation of boats since commuters to Kakkanad will be able to cover the distance in 15 minutes. The Vyttila-Thevara sector can be covered in 20 minutes.

“The ferry services will take about half the time taken by buses, which pass through congested roads,” said a senior State Water Transport Department (SWTD) official. “We hope to begin the service in two months’ time and are awaiting the jetty’s commissioning. The commuting time can be further reduced if faster boats are procured using Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) funds.”

Three jetties planned

“Aimed at ensuring the availability of different modes of transport at the hub, we envisaged three boat jetties – one each for government and private-operated passenger ferries and one for tourist boats,” said M. Beena, the MD of Vyttila Mobility Hub Society. The other two will be built in phase two of the hub’s development.

The Irrigation Department was entrusted with the task of dredging the area and building the jetty for the ferry service. The Hub Society has to construct a pavilion at a cost of Rs.88 lakh. The pavilion will be used for setting up a waiting area and ticket counters.

The SWTD has agreed to spare a few boats for service along the two routes. Transport Secretary Elias George, who is also the MD of Kochi Metro Rail Limited, had evinced keen interest in the speedy kick-starting of the boat service.

He had travelled on board the trial boat service from Thevara to Kakkanad, which is part of the Kollam-Kottapuram National Waterway III, two months ago.

Apart from providing commuters with a fast, eco-friendly and economical mode of transport, a viable urban water transport system can also be used as feeder services for the Kochi Metro, which would have a station at the hub.

This would reduce the dependence on private vehicles.

The Kochi Metro will be one of the few metro projects in the world which will be integrated with the water transport system at its stations in Vyttila and Edappally.

The proposed boat services will primarily benefit commuters in the Thevara Ferry-Maradu-Champakkara-Vyttila Hub-Eroor- Kakkanad stretch.

The ferry service will also provide commuters with an alternative mode of transport when traffic is diverted in connection with the metro’s construction works.

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