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Kochi Metro Rail Limited moots minibus service to boost ferry operations – The Times of India

KOCHI: In an effort achieve synergy between multiple modes of transport under the Unified Metro Transport Authority (UMTA), Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) is mooting a minibus service by the end of March. The aim is to start pilot feeder minibus services connecting Kakkanad Jetty, Collectorate and Infopark and thus ensure better connectivity.

The company has invited tenders seeking 14-seater minibuses for the service. This will provide connectivity to the ferry service started by state water transport department (SWTD) along Kakkanad-Vyttila stretch. The ferry service, launched in last November to ease traffic congestion, received a lukewarm response due to the lack of proper transport connectivity at its stops.

“The bus service will support the ferry service. We hope to get things in place by March so that we can launch it as soon as possible. We have invited tenders for the purpose. Interested service providers should supply the bus and a driver, KMRL will take care of the payment,” said a company spokesperson, adding that cost and other relevant details cannot be divulged until the tendering process is complete.

The boat service along Kakkanad-Vyttila stretch will assume significance as Vyttila will soon be a converging point of water, rail and road transport once Metro rail service becomes operational. “So, the ferry service along the stretch is quite significant for us. That’s why we decided to start the bus service to support it,” said Elias George, managing director of KMRL.

“We will be starting more ferry services to tap the potential of water transport in Kochi. A detailed project report (DPR) for the project has been prepared. The state government is now studying the DPR and once we receive the green light, the DPR will be sent for the approval of the Union government,” he said.

The cost of the project is around Rs 60 crore and KMRL will explore the possibility of including this service in the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) schemes, if possible, since the complementary service will enhance connectivity among multiple modes of transport within the city.

As of now two boats are plying along Kakkanad-Vyttila stretch and it takes roughly 20 minutes to cover this stretch. The schedule from Vyttila is as follows – 9.15 am, 10.15 am, 11.15 am, 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm and 4 pm. Return trips from Kakkanad are as follows 9.45 am, 10.45 am, 11.45 am, 1.30 pm, 2.30 pm,3.30 pm and 4.30 pm. The boats start service from Vyttila. The fare for the five-kilometre stretch is Rs 8.

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