On a mission to explore the feasibility of new urban water routes in the city and suburbs, a team of officials under the leadership of KMRL managing director Elias George undertook a survey from Thevara ferry to Kakkanad through the national waterway 111 on Wednesday.

The survey comes after the decision at a newly constituted transit–oriented development committee meeting to develop a viable urban water transport system, which will function as a feeder service for Kochi Metro Rail.

A key objective of the Kochi Metro Rail project is to catalyse the development of a comprehensive urban transport system for Kochi. The Kochi Metro will be one of the few metro projects in the world which will be integrated with the water transport system with interchange facilities at Vytila Mobility Hub and Edappally station. A condition for sanctioning the Kochi Metro project was preparation of integrated and comprehensive mobility plan for Kochi as well as the creation of a commonly integrated mobility card and ticketing facility,” said Elias George.

The boat trip started from Thevara Ferry and passed through Maradu, Champakkara, Vyttila hub, Eroor to reach Kakkanad. “Boat service, on a trial-basis, will start in the Vyttila hub–Kakkanad route once the boat jetty near the hub is ready. If found feasible, regular service will be introduced soon,” said Shaji V. Nair, director of Kerala State Water Transport Department. Average time for the Vyttila-Kakkanad journey is 25 minutes and the rate will be fixed after getting the report from NATPAC, which has been asked to conduct a feasibility study on the project

“Boats can be operated at a speed of 10 to 15 nautical miles in this route so that passengers coming to Vyttila hub from distant places can reach Kakkanad through a fast, safe and pollution-free mode of transport avoiding the heavy traffic on road,” said Mr. Shaji.

Apart from integrating with the metro rail, another major objective of developing new urban water routes is to use it for traffic diversion when the metro works start. According to Elias George, water transport can be effectively used to decongest the city roads during metro construction works.

“Though various agencies are involved in water transport sector, with the formation of the proposed Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA), functioning of all agencies can be integrated, which will help in promoting urban water transport,” said the managing director of KMRL.

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