Public transport as the way ahead

Hibi Eden MLA; A.P.M. Mohammed Hanish, MD of KMRL, representatives of residents’ associations and others travel in a bus on Saturday, which was observed as Public Transport Day in Kochi.  

Wearing blue ribbons, Kochi’s youth, the elderly, the differently-abled, people’s representatives and others travelled in ferries, buses and metro rail on Saturday, to launch the first edition of Public Transport Day on Saturday.

The first multi-modal Public Transport Day in Kochi saw Hibi Eden, MLA; A.P.M. Mohammed Hanish, Managing Director of Kochi Metro Rail Limited; representatives of residents’ associations and others too commute by these modes of transport. The event was organised by city-based think tank Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR), civic agencies, Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), private bus operators, KMRL, government departments, NSS volunteers and merchant bodies.

The volunteers and others also cleaned up the KSRTC bus stand and the Fort Kochi boat jetty.

Public Transport Day will be a year-long movement led by the CPPR.

On Saturday, marking the official launch of the programme, Mr. Eden, Mr. Hanish and others travelled in a ferry from Fort Kochi to Ernakulam, followed by a bus ride to M.G. Road Metro Station and ended with a metro ride till Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium Station in Kaloor. They wore a blue ribbon in solidarity with the objectives of the campaign.

'A first for Kochi'

At the launch of the event, Mr. Eden said, “With the impending launch of the Water Metro service, Kochi will become the first city in Asia with a multi-modal transport system linking metro, water metro and road transport. Through this initiative, we want to make public transport the preferred choice for Kochiites and visitors.”

He urged members of the public to jointly bring about a change in the way public transport was perceived and utilised in Kochi.

He also commended the efforts of the CPPR in uniting Kochi via such a campaign. He also launched the Kochi Public Transport Day website that will provide news and information about transport systems across the world and the challenges faced by the city’s transport sector.

Henceforth, a day every month will be celebrated as Public Transport Day in Kochi, with a different theme assigned for each month.

Sustainable mobility

Speaking on the occasion, CPPR Chairman D. Dhanuraj said the novel initiative could contribute in enhancing the city’s role in achieving sustainable mobility, improving the environment by lessening pollution caused by private vehicles and encourage the use of public transport. “We will also study gaps in Kochi’s public transport systems and share solutions with the government,” he said. He added that the long-term aim of the project was to prompt 10% of people using cars and two-wheelers to shift to public transport.

Mr. Hanish detailed future plans to unify the transport system in Kochi and to provide last-mile connectivity.

Commuters honoured

The observance of Public Transport Day also saw KMRL honouring passengers who had travelled the most in the metro with ‘Shreshtasanchari Puraskaram’.

They will be brand ambassadors and flag-bearers of public transport in the city. Naveena Antony, an employee of Canara Bank, and Basanth Sreeder, a businessman, were selected for the title for travelling distances worth more than ₹8,000, using the Kochi-1 pre-paid card. In the senior citizen category, Baby Pradeep, a retired government employee and Joseph T.K., an employee with Drugs India, were honoured for purchasing tickets worth ₹2,300 and ₹5,000 respectively, says a KMRL press release.

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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 4:09:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/public-transport-as-the-way-ahead/article22538490.ece

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