E-scooters may be game changers in Kochi metro’s feeder network

Aimed at redressing complaints about inadequate first and last-mile connectivity from Kochi metro stations, discussions are under way with two prominent players to deploy a fleet of electric two-wheelers along the metro corridor and in other passenger-dense hubs.

“Discussions were held with two well-known firms which have sound footing in the country’s transportation sector, to roll out electric two-wheelers (mainly e-scooters) in Kochi. The primary aim is to fill missing links in integrating the metro with other commuting modes, to lessen reliance on private vehicles,” said official sources.

The attraction during the pandemic-induced economic slowdown would be that commuters would not have to spend anything on capital expense, while the energy charge would be approximately a rupee per km, they added.

The electric two-wheelers of one of the players are already available in a few metro cities in India. A meeting was held recently to probe ways for speedy implementation of the initiative in Kochi. The manufacturing unit of the second player is nearing completion. Apart from readying innovative recharging stations, the firms are also probing ways to ready vertical parking for the electric vehicles to save space, it is learnt.

“Unmanned charging stations can be set up in limited space to recharge them in a cashless manner. Monthly bills can be generated just like for sourcing power from the grid,” said sources.

Their roll-out in Kochi is expected at a time when the on-road cost of electric two-wheelers was substantially slashed earlier this month, following subsidy revision under Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME-II) scheme.

Apart from Kochi Metro Rail Limited, the Kochi Metropolitan Transport Authority (KMTA) has also been probing ways to integrate the metro and other public transport systems with two and three-wheelers, to usher in first and last-mile connectivity. The KMTA has also been emphasising the need for pedestrian-friendly footpaths to lessen congestion and the carbon footprint of vehicles.

The initiative to introduce e-autorickshaws in metro stations to provide last-mile connectivity is yet to gain momentum due to frequent curbs on public transport during the pandemic.

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2021 6:43:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/e-scooters-may-be-game-changers-in-kochi-metros-feeder-network/article34930321.ece

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