Project aims at integrating different modes of transport

A Kochi Urban Transport Project has been mooted to end the abject lack of coordination among agencies involved in surface and water transport in the city.

The Transport Department will play a key role in the initiative and in the constitution of a Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA) for executing the project. “The aim is to fill the missing gaps in the city’s transportation sector, by bringing in a common network management system for different modes of transport,” said Transport Secretary Elias George, who is also the Managing director of Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL).

Metro link

The project will bring under one umbrella buses, boats etc., being operated by government and private agencies. Civic agencies too will be represented in this. In the long run, the two modes of transport will be integrated with Kochi Metro that is getting ready for commissioning in 2016.

The plan is to centrally manage the timings and logistics of buses and boats, so that they become passenger friendly.

Volume of traffic

Though it is necessary to streamline and integrate different transportation modes in cities across the State, the Union Urban Development Ministry has suggested setting up of such a system in Kochi at first because of the huge volume of traffic, narrow roads and plenteous navigable waterways available here, Mr. George said.

There will be a common administrative apparatus to manage the system, but each agency will retain the fare collected from commuters. The project will also take care of readying infrastructure like bus stands, boat jetties and the acquisition of passenger friendly boats and buses. Commuters will be able to choose any mode of transport by swiping a common (pre-paid) card.

RFID tags

“Aimed at ensuring the optimal utility of different modes of transport, Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID) will be attached to buses and boats. This will help identify their exact location at any given time,” he said.

KSRTC chain service

Currently, buses, especially KSRTC buses ply one after the other in different routes as chain service. This unscientific scheduling lessens the passenger patronage per bus since buses which follow do not get adequate number of people, thus hampering effective fleet utilisation.

Steep fall in income and the wastage of fuel and human resources is a fallout of this. This also forces commuters to wait for a long time till the next chain of KSRTC buses ply in that route.

Usher in efficiency

An umbrella body will be able to identify such issues and usher in efficiency in the operation of buses and boats, while also integrating them at places like boat jetties and at places like Edapally and Vyttila where new boat terminals are expected to come up. The Regional Transport Authority which has stakeholders from civic and rule enforcement agencies, will discuss the project and take steps to speed up its constitution.

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