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Kochi Water Metro commences commercial operations; over 6,500 people ride on first day

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Kochi: The Kerala government’s ambitious Kochi Water Metro service, a first in the country and launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi a day ago, commenced its commercial operations on Wednesday on a single route which witnessed an “overwhelming” response with a ridership of over 6,500.

On the first day of its commercial operations, Kochi Water Metro ran boats between the Kerala High Court and Vypin terminals from 7 AM onwards and saw a ridership of 6,559 passengers, Kochi Water Metro Ltd (KWML) said in a statement.

KWML said the public response on the first day was “overwhelming”.

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“Boats were operated every 15 minutes from 7 AM to 8 PM in the High Court -Vypin route from both the terminals,” it said.

On Thursday, commercial operations would commence on the second route from Vytilla to Kakkanad.

“It is expected that this route will be beneficial to the people of Kakkanad and for those working in Infopark. In the initial days, the Kochi Water Metro would be operating in this route during peak hours.

“The boats will operate from 8 AM to 11 AM and from 4 PM to 7 PM. There will be 3 trips each in the morning and evening hours. The ticket rate for this route would be Rs 30,” KWLML said in the statement.

The estimated travel time from Vyttila water metro terminal to Kakkanad terminal is around 25 minutes and to ensure last mile connectivity, feeder buses and autos have been arranged from Kakkanad Water Metro Terminal to Infopark.

The flagship water metro project of the Left front government, set up at a cost of Rs 1,136.83 crore in the port city, will connect 10 islands using 78 electric boats and 38 terminals, once fully operational.

Initially, 15 electric air-conditioned catamaran boats will ferry city residents across eight water routes. There are 15 proposed water routes.

A group of differently-abled children enjoyed the inaugural trip of the water metro on the first day. The vessels and the terminals are disabled-friendly.

The ticket rate for the High Court-Vypin route is Rs 20.

During peak hours, there will be boat service every 15 minutes on this route and services will continue till 8 PM, the KWML statement said.

It said the country’s first Water Metro service will provide safe, affordable and pocket-friendly travel for people in and around Kochi and also the tourists from across the world.

The eco-friendly vessels can ferry up to 100 people each across the proposed 76-km-long routes at a speed of eight to ten knots.

The boat had also won Gussies International Electric Boat awards, 2022.

Metro officials said the vessels are fitted with the most advanced and safest battery technology, which is capable of supercharging in 15 to 20 minutes.

The vessels are also equipped with life-saving equipment and technology to prevent overcrowding.

Apart from having an automatic boat location tracking system and a night navigation equipment, the panoramic windows of the vessels provide a visual treat of the scenic backwaters of Kochi.

The solar-powered electric vessels with zero emissions have recyclable aluminum alloy hull bodies and the engines produce near to zero sound and vibration while running.

The Kochi Water Metro service is fully funded by the Kerala government and KfW, a German funding agency.

The terminals are built with state-of-the-art facilities and the jetties have floating pontoons with automatic docking system technology. The Water Metro is expected to ferry 34,000 passengers everyday when fully operational.

The integrated ticketing system allows passengers seamless travel on water metro and metro rail using the Kochi One card.

For the future, KMRL plans to make the smart card usable for travel on feeder buses and auto-rickshaws.

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( With inputs from www.siasat.com )

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