UMTA may bring goodies to Kochi

The much-anticipated United Metropolitan Transport Authority Bill is likely to be taken up during the ongoing session of the Assembly.

It is learnt that the bill is in the printing stage for circulation among all the 140 MLAs. It got the approval of the Cabinet at the stroke of New Year and has since been waiting for the endorsement of the Assembly.

The Cabinet move was in compliance with the Union government’s metro rail policy of 2017 which insisted on the formation of a Unified Metropolitan Transportation Authority (UMTA) in cities implementing metro projects. UMTA is of special interest to Kochi since Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) has been waiting for enabling legislation to go ahead with its various innovative programmes ranging from a single ticket for various modes of transport to route rationalisation of private bus services. Speaking to The Hindu, Minister for Transport A.K. Saseendran said that the bill was one of the 18-odd ones listed for the consideration of the ongoing Assembly session. “It may in all likelihood be considered during the current session though a call on bills to be taken up during a session is made by the Business Advisory Committee,” he added.

Asked whether the government proposed any further enabling measures for the prompt constitution of UMTA, Mr. Saseendran said that he was yet to go deep into it.

Meanwhile, KMRL has already kick-started all necessary groundwork so that the proposed UMTA hits the ground running once it is formed. “UMTA is mainly based on three foundations — single timetable for different modes of transport, single command and control, and single ticket — and we have started working on all the three aspects,” KMRL sources said.

The process of mounting private buses with GPS trackers has already started and is likely to be completed by April-end, which is believed to be a meaningful step towards the preparation of a single timetable. Similarly, card swiping machines will first be installed on buses and later on autorickshaws.

“While the Kochi metro has an operations control centre, the proposal for a state-of-the-art command control centre with intelligent traffic control system, which was included in Cochin Smart Mission Limited’s SmartCity proposals, will go a long way in having a single centre for controlling various modes of transports,” the sources added.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 6:37:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/umta-may-bring-goodies-to-kochi/article22883838.ece

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