Kochi: The Kochi Metro has been rewriting its own daily ridership records soon after the Thaikkudam line to the city outskirts opened a week ago. Its daily passenger count crossed 1 lakh by 9.30 pm on Thursday, a first ever for the service. In all 6.7 lakh people has so far taken the metro trains in the Kochi city since the Maharajas-Thaikkudam service started on September 4.
The second best count was 99,680 registered on September 7, the previous best being 98,310 on the first Sunday after metro’s inception in June 2017.
Kochi Metro Rail Limited had expected a surge in numbers around Onam. From September 10 to 12, the metro ran till 11 pm, one hour more than its usual schedule that starts at 6 am.
Average daily footfall has crossed 70,000 since the extension to Thaikkudam, rising from 40,000 when the service terminated at Maharajas station. As many as 39,538 people had travelled till 5 pm on September 4, the data from the Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) shows. The number rose to 50,676 by 5 pm on September 5.
More people are shifting to metro leaving aside cars and two-wheelers owing to traffic congestion on city roads. The newly opened route and reduced prices for a limited period also likely resulted in a spurt in ridership in the last several days.
The metro services extended out of the Kochi city area on September 4 and fares were reduced by half until September 18.
The usual Rs 10 metro ticket is now billed only Rs 5. A commuter opting for any other city transport service will have to pay a little more even for a short travel. The minimum bus fare is Rs 8 and the shortest ride on autorickshaw costs Rs 35.
The rise in commuter count has not helped in improving the revenues of KMRL as ticket rates have been slashed by half for the Onam festival season. If the initial rates were still being levied from these many commuters, then the Kochi Metro would have been the first metro to break even within three years of starting services.