The Kochi Corporation is likely to introduce share autos in the city. The service is aimed at making public transport available on side roads and in residential colonies.The service would be helpful as buses ply only along conventional routes. It could in the long run become a feeder service to the Kochi metro expected to be commissioned in 2016.
A meeting to discuss the matter was held on Friday at Mayor Tony Chammany’s chamber. Ernakulam Regional Transport Officer B.J. Antony and traffic police officers took part in the meeting.
After the Union Urban Development Ministry suggested the share auto system to decongest cities, legislation to facilitate the entry of share autos in Kerala was given the go-ahead by stakeholders. A commission headed by Justice M. Ramachandran is studying the proposal. Stakeholders also agreed upon entrusting CPPR, a city-based NGO, to carry out a feasibility study on the proposed transport system in Kochi.
Autorickshaw trade unions in the city, with whom the plan has gone down well, have demanded clear-cut norms on the type of vehicle to be used, the routes and fare rates. To bring down traffic on city roads, Mr. Chammany has called for steps to reduce the number of private vehicles.
Sources said commuters showed a marked preference for four-wheeler autorickshaws over the noisy three-wheelers, manufactured by a few firms, which offered a bumpy ride. A study done by CPPR found that share autos which operated in many metros charged customers a reasonable fare.
“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, the share autos could reduce pollution levels and increase the efficient use of fuel, they said.