Water Metro achieves milestone, ferries 20 lakh commuters

A total of 14 electric-hybrid ferries are in operation on five routes; demand to display boat timings at public spaces to improve patronage of tourists and regular commuters

April 29, 2024 12:23 am | Updated 12:23 am IST - KOCHI

A Water Metro ferry proceeds to berth at the Fort Kochi terminal.

A Water Metro ferry proceeds to berth at the Fort Kochi terminal. | Photo Credit: THULASI KAKKAT

Kochi Water Metro ferries achieved a milestone on April 28 (Sunday) by ferrying a total of 20 lakh commuters ever since the project was commissioned in April 25 last year.

The earlier milestone was achieved on October 16, 2023, by which time a total of 10 lakh commuters had travelled in the ferries, around six months since the commissioning. A total of 14 electric-hybrid ferries are in operation now, on five routes, according to a release.

They began services on the High Court-Vypeen and Vyttila-Kakkanad routes, followed by the High Court-Bolgatty-South Chittoor, South Chittoor-Eloor-Cheranalloor and High Court-Fort Kochi corridors.

The ferry terminals at Kumbalam, Paliyamthuruth, Willingdon Island, and Kadamakkudy are under construction, apart from the one in Mattancherry where four ferries can be berthed simultaneously. With Cochin Shipyard Limited expected to deliver another five ferries by September, the ferries are expected to call at these terminals by October. Kochi Water Metro Limited (KWML) is, in the meantime, trying to augment last-mile connectivity from these terminals by introducing e-buses.

Passengers can travel in these silent ferries in air-conditioned comfort at half the bus fare, if they opt for weekly, monthly and quarterly travel passes. For instance, the South Chittoor-High Court bus fare is ₹18, while ferry commuters who avail travel pass need pay just ₹10 for the waterway route.

Demands

Ebenser Chullikkatt of Greater Kochi Development Watch, an NGO that has been highlighting commuting and other woes from the islands to the mainland, said KWML must display ferry timings at busy public spaces in order to improve patronage of tourists and regular commuters.

The first trip on the Cheranalloor-Eloor route begins late. Its timing must be advanced. Ferry services must also be extended to Kadamakudy, where the project’s foundation stone was laid, as soon as possible, he added.

In addition, the ₹40 fare on the Ernakulam-Fort Kochi route must be rationalised to ₹30 since the per-km fare fixed by the government for the ferries was ₹4. KWML must specify what it would do with the corporate environment responsibility funds, said Mr. Chullikkatt.

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