Kochi metro extension to airport to depend on outcome of comprehensive mobility plan

The phase-II Kakkanad extension for which work is under way and the subsequent airport extension hold the key to increasing patronage in the mass rapid transport system

November 19, 2023 07:10 pm | Updated November 20, 2023 04:03 am IST - KOCHI

Traffic snarls at junctions on Aluva-Angamaly stretch and along Marthanda Varma Bridge at Aluva will lessen once Kochi metro’s airport extension is built, says KMRL. File.

Traffic snarls at junctions on Aluva-Angamaly stretch and along Marthanda Varma Bridge at Aluva will lessen once Kochi metro’s airport extension is built, says KMRL. File. | Photo Credit: K.K. Mustafah

Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) is waiting for the release of a comprehensive mobility plan (CMP) for the Greater Kochi area, to take a call on metro’s phase-III extension to the Cochin International Airport from the Aluva terminal station.

The phase-II Kakkanad extension for which work is under way and the subsequent airport extension hold the key to increasing patronage in the mass rapid transport system. It could take off from Athani, while the metro’s phase-III viaduct could extend up to Angamaly. A decision on the airport extension would depend on the outcome of a traffic study that would be done as part of the extension’s detailed project report (DPR) preparation. The study would shed light on, among other things, the passengers per hour per direction of traffic, said sources.

The final of the draft CMP readied by New Delhi-based Urban Mass Transit Company (UMTC) is expected to be released in a few months. It will shed light on whether there is need for a mass rapid transport system (MRTS) beyond Aluva on the airport and Angamaly corridors. It will be followed by preparation of a DPR, based on which the State and Central governments ought to sanction the extension. The metro agency will have to reply to queries on different aspects of the extension. A funding agency too will have to be identified. A clear picture on the extension will emerge by 2024-end, if everything goes well. The expense sharing if any for the airport extension by Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) too will be probed. A stakeholder meeting would be convened in the coming months, they added.

Meanwhile, KMRL is probing the possibility of purchasing five sets of metro rakes for making available optimal number of rakes once the Kakkanad extension is commissioned by 2025-end. It already has 25 rakes, each having three coaches, built by French firm Alstom, it is learnt.

Of the 25 rakes, approximately 15 rakes are needed for daily operations, with the rest being kept as standby. Adding five more rakes will enable smoother operations when more extensions are commissioned, if need be, at more frequent intervals than the present average of a train every seven minutes during peak times. Already, four extra trips were being operated during days when there were abnormal crowds at metro stations, like in the event of bus strikes, said sources.

The CMP is also expected to refer to whether an MRTS-like metro is needed in the Kacheripady-Menaka, Edappally-Vyttila-Aroor and Thripunithura-Kakkanad corridors, where KMRL had evinced interest in executing metro extensions.

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