Four-wheeler share taxis will slowly replace noisy and polluting autorickshaws that offer a bumpy ride, if all goes well with the proposal to introduce share taxis in the city.

The Kerala State Fare Revision Committee held a sitting here on Tuesday to elicit views from members of the public and other stakeholders on operating share taxis in the city.

Huge demand

This follows a huge demand to introduce public transport through side roads and through roads which have inadequate bus services.

The sitting was chaired by former Judge of the Kerala High Court M. Ramachandran, while the other members included Transport Commissioner P. Vijayanand; Joint Transport Commissioner Alex Paul; and former Director of National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC) T. Elangovan.

Representatives of residents’ associations, bus operators and autorickshaw trade unions were among those who aired their views.

Feasibility study

The sitting follows a study done on the feasibility of operating share taxis in Kochi, done by the Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR), an NGO.

Already, four-wheelers commonly known as auto taxis, are operating in Kochi.

A Motor Vehicles Department official said that they must also be permitted to operate in rural areas and places like Mulavukad that are inaccessible by buses.

Fleecing by auto drivers

Fleecing by unscrupulous auto drivers and the inroads made by noisy diesel-run autos that offer a bouncy ride furthered the demand for a better mode of commuting.

A Motor Vehicles Department official said that a major share of diesel autos are no more than goods carriers, but compromise on safety and ride comfort.

Popular in metros

The CPPR study has found that share taxis are popular in many metros, including Chennai and Hyderabad. They help people to reach railway stations, bus stands and other facilities at a reasonable rate.

Ideal for city

“It is ideal for a city like Kochi which has too many narrow roads where operating buses is tough. “For example, people from Kochu Kadavanthra can easily commute to Thevara or Kadavanthra, from Vennala to Tripunithura and from Infopark to Kakkanad,” CPPR sources said. With BS III emission norms coming into force, these vehicles will keep pollution levels low and increase efficient use of fuel. They could even be a feeder service for Kochi Metro Rail, they said.

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