Water Metro fares likely to be rolled back

Water Metro ferries at the Cochin Shipyard. 

Water Metro ferries at the Cochin Shipyard.  | Photo Credit: FILE PHOTO

With the first batch of five Water Metro ferries scheduled to commence operations in the High Court-Vypeen-Mulavukad corridor in September, Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) is getting ready to revise the fare structure fixed in July 2021.

The State government had then announced ₹20 as the minimum fare for the 78 ferries that were to be introduced in the Greater Kochi area under the ₹747-crore project for distance of up to three km. Another ₹4 had to be paid for every additional kilometre, while the maximum fare was fixed at ₹40.

This fare structure was based on a survey among potential commuters conducted by the Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode (IIM-K) in February 2021, based on which a tentative fare structure was readied.

KMRL sources said feedback from a recent survey suggested a rollback of the fares that had been announced in July 2021. “A revised fare structure will be announced a little before the batch of five vessels [of the total 23 hundred-passenger ferries for which orders had been placed with Cochin Shipyard] begin commercial operation in September. The metro agency’s Director Board had delegated powers to the Managing Director to take a decision in this regard,” said sources.

The State government had in 2021 recommended the constitution of a fare-fixing committee to revise Water Metro’s fare structure in keeping with market conditions. Residents of the islands that the ferries would establish connectivity with, NGOs, and experts in the public transport sector had demanded that the fares be kept reasonable, since most islanders were daily-wage earners.

The Cochin Shipyard had handed over two ferries, belatedly, to KMRL earlier this year. “It has assured delivery of three more the coming week. They would be put to extensive technical trials in the waterbodies for around a month before their services are launched, almost certainly, in September,” said the sources.

The jetties at Vyttila and Kakkanad are ready while the ones at High Court, Vypeen and Mulavukad are nearing completion. A total of 14 other jetties will be readied by December. The tendering process is on to construct jetties on land recently acquired for the project, it is learnt.

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2022 10:47:07 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/water-metro-fares-likely-to-be-rolled-back/article65703976.ece