A Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA), which will act as a coordinating agency between various stakeholders in the public transport sector has been proposed for Kochi.
The views of the stakeholders including government departments, urban planners, civic representatives and transport service operators were elicited at a meeting of the stakeholders at Kochi Corporation on Tuesday.
It was following a directive from the Union Ministry of Urban Development that the civic authorities initiated discussions on the proposed agency.
The Ministry had also appointed Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India Pvt. Ltd and Voyants Solutions Pvt. Ltd as the consultants for a project for the development of operations document for UMTA and Urban Transport Fund.
The Ministry will identify three representative cities of different sizes where UMTAs and the Funds could be set up. The cities would be identified considering its willingness and preparedness for setting up the authority and the fund, according to the organisers.
The State government may soon form a committee for drawing up a draft proposal for UMTA. The proposal prepared by the committee will be discussed with various stakeholders including local bodies in the Greater Cochin area. The government may also come out with a notification regarding the formation of the Authority, according to authorities.
Elias George, managing director of Kochi Metro Rail Limited suggested that there should be a seamless ticketing system across various modes of urban transport including metro rail, water transport and buses. Formation of an agency like UMTA is necessary before Kochi Metro Rail becomes operational.
Both the policy-makers and the funding agencies insist on forming such a system in the city. The urban transport system should be restructured and redesigned failing which the metro would not be able to live up to the expectations of the public and become viable, he said.K.J. Sohan, chairman of the Town Planning Standing Committee of the Kochi Corporation suggested that a legislation should be enacted for providing a legal framework for the agency.
It should be headed by professionals drawn from the urban transport sector, he said.
Call for discussion
M. Anilkumar, the CPI (M) councillor in the Kochi Corporation said that the corporation council should discuss the proposal separately for framing its views.
Tony Chammany, Kochi Mayor, B. Bhadra, Deputy Mayor, Dr. M. Beena, Managing Director, Vyttila Mobility Hub Society, Ajith B. Patil, secretary, Kochi Corporation, and Allan Kennaird, Sumit Mishra and Sharad Singhai, consultants of the Ministry took part in the discussion.