Hop on to bus, auto and metro in Kochi with one ticket! Unified system soon

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Kochi: Public transportation in Kochi is set to transform soon as an integrated ticketing system is being planned for launch in six months under the aegis of the new city transport authority. As the commuter-friendly initiative kicks off, only one ticket will be needed for your ride on Metro train, bus and autorickshaw in Kerala's commercial capital. 

A mobile app that will guide the passengers on the easiest mode of transport and route for their destinations is also on the offing. 

The drastic changes in paying for public transport will be spearheaded by the Kochi Metropolitan Transportation Authority that is set to start functioning from next month. Soon, the functions of the Authority will be extended to the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) and Goshree Islands Development Authority (GIDA).

Umbrella organisation

The coordination, regulation, planning and execution of all transport activities in the region would be under the control of the Authority. Under the new plan, the Motor Vehicles Department, Kochi Municipal Corporation and the Public Works Department will be just constituents of the Authority looking up to it for directions.

Experts in the Authority would take a decision on matters such as road tarring based on vehicle traffic. The Authority would be responsible if the roads are not repaired. 

Kochi would be the first city in India to see such a transformation in public transportation. 

But questions remain on whether these proposals would turn into a reality? Experts point out all the infrastructure is present, it is just a matter of coordination.

Transport companies 

Several groups and companies running the public transport facilities will have to consult the Transport Authority for operational guidelines. Such agencies include the Kochi Metro, Water Metro, KSRTC and Water Transport Corporation.

Around 1,000 buses have formed seven companies already. Also, one society managing 5,000 autorickshaws have also been formed. 

Cycles, set to be introduced in various parts of the city, would be arrayed under one company as well. Management of taxi cars could also come under the umbrella body.

How single-ticketing works

To know how the single-ticketing works, let’s take the example of a person travelling from Chellanam to Puthiyakavu in Tripunithura. 

This commuter will take a bus from Chellanam to South Railway Station bus stop, then take the Metro train to Pettah and then a bus to Puthiyakavu. And finally, an autorickshaw to reach the destination at the other end of the city. 

For this route, at least three tickets need to be purchased -- for two bus journeys and one Metro train ride. Moreover, the autorickshaw fare also has to be paid in cash.

But in the new integrated system, this passenger may take a single ticket directly to Puthiyakavu when boarding the bus at first from Chellanam. This ticket would suffice for travel on the two buses, Metro and autorickshaw.

Travel-cum-ride app

Citing the case of the same commuter and route, now let us learn how the proposed travel-cum-ride app works.

Once you enter your destination in the app, it will show the different routes from Chellanam to Puthiyakavu. You may choose one of the routes: take a bus to Thoppumpady and from there board the Thoppumpady-Tripunithura bus via Kundannoor Bridge to reach Puthiyakavu. But you will have to wait for some time for the bus. If you pick that option, the ticket will be issued. 

Or, if you are ready to cycle from Thoppumpady to Tripunithura, the cycle rent would also be included in the ticket fare. The passenger can choose the distance and time. 

Once the online ticket is issued, the passenger may begin the journey. But do not change the travel plan randomly. For instance, do not take a bus ticket and then travel on Kochi Metro. Or take a ticket for the Kundannoor route and then travel via Pallimukku. 

Also, remember that the ticket would be valid only for a specific time.

Booking options

People who do not have smartphones can also buy tickets using the IVRS (Interactive Voice Response System) on their mobile phones. This will be similar to the way LPG cylinders are booked currently. 

Also, interactive kiosks will be set up at crowded bus stops, where commuter can buy tickets as in railway stations.

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