As the weekend concluded, the newly inaugurated Kochi Water Metro service in Kerala gathered a footfall of over 10,000 on Sunday with long queues seen at various stations. Kerala government’s ambitious Kochi Water Metro service, a first in the country, was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 25.
The commercial operations of the water metro service, which commenced on April 26 through two routes-Vypin to High Court and Vytila to Kakkanad, has been receiving an “overwhelming response” since then with an increasing ridership each day. “While there was a footfall of 8,415 on Saturday, the Water Metro service ferried over 10,000 on Sunday as per initial reports,” a Kochi Water Metro Ltd (KWML) official told PTI.
The official said the mainly tourist crowd used the Metro along the Vypin-High Court route. A total of nine boats are in service out of which five are being used in the Vypin-High Court scenic route. The panoramic windows of the vessels provide a visual treat of the scenic backwaters of Kochi.
Cutting across age barriers, people from all walks of lives were seen crowded at High Court station, which witnessed huge rush during all the day. Weekend and vacation adds to the rush, the official said, adding that besides the Water Metro employees, staff from Kochi Metro Rail have also been deployed to handle the rush.
The Vyttila-Kakkanad route is now being operated only during the peak hours. To ensure last mile connectivity, feeder buses and autorickshaws 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. The Water Metro service is aimed to provide safe and affordable travel for people including tourists from across the world using solar-powered electric vessels which can ferry up to 100 people each across the proposed 76-kilometre routes.
The vessels, which are fitted with the most advanced and safest battery technology, are also equipped with life-saving equipment and technology to prevent overcrowding.
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.
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