Kochi Water Metro launched, services from tomorrow

15 battery-operated electric hybrid boats will conduct regular services in eight routes from April 26. Photo: Manorama

Kochi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Kochi Water Metro on Tuesday from Thiruvananthapuram, online. With its launch, Kochi has joined a select league of big cities that facilitate quick hassle-free travel both on the water and the land using the modern transport system.

15 boats, service from 7 am to 8 pm from April 26
15 battery-operated electric hybrid boats will conduct regular services in eight routes from April 26, providing seamless connectivity with the islands around the city.

The first service will be in the High Court-Vypeen route (Rs 20 ticket fare), followed by that in the Vytilla-Kakkanad section (Rs 30 ticket fare) from April 27 onwards. The services will be operated from 7 am to 8 pm.

The minimum ticket rate for Kochi Water Metro will be Rs 20 while the maximum Rs 40. During peak hours, the services will be held every 15 minutes. The service schedule will be prepared on the basis of commuter demand in the initial few days. A concession in travel passes has been announced in connection with the inauguration.

Kochi water metro
Kochi Water Metro. Photo: Facebook/Pinarayi VIjayan

A person can travel 12 times using a weekly pass, which will cost Rs 180. The monthly pass, costing Rs 600, will facilitate 50 journeys, while the three-month pass, costing Rs 1500, will facilitate 150 journeys.

One can purchase one-time tickets and passes from the ticket counters in terminals. The Kochi One Card, used in Kochi Metro, can also be used in the Kochi Water Metro. One can also travel using the mobile QR code received upon booking the ticket digitally using Kochi One App.

Kerala’s Dream project: CM
Terming it a dream project, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, in a recent Facebook post, shared the details of the Kochi Water Metro. Yet another promise issued by the LDF Government to the public will become a reality with the commencement of Kochi Water Metro services from April 26, he added, while requesting the cooperation of all to make the project a huge success.

The prestigious project, which will enable quick growth of Kochi’s transport and tourism sectors, costs Rs 1136.83 crore. The amount includes the loan taken from the German Funding Agency KfW and the direct investment of the State Government.

Upon completion of the project, a total 78 water metro boats will conduct services connecting 10 islands through 38 terminals. The initial services in the High Court-Vypeen and Vytilla-Kakkanad routes will be part of this. One can escape from the severe traffic jam in the city and travel from High Court to Vypeen in just 20 minutes. Similarly, the Vytilla-Kakkanad distance can be covered in 25 minutes maximum.

Water metro can accommodate around 100 passengers and are fully air-conditioned. Photo: Manorama

The electric hybrid boats used for the service have already garnered international attention. The Kochi Water Metro has won the GUSSIES Electric Boat awards recently. The boats and the terminals have been designed in a disabled-friendly manner. The floating pontoons, which will maintain the same berthing level, at both the high and low tide is another specialty.

The air-conditioned boats offer fast and comfortable travel at nominal ticket rates.

Comparison between bus and water metro routes:
1) Vypeen-High Court
Bus – 5 kms, Rs 13 charge and average 30 minutes to cover the distance
Water metro – 3.32 kms, Rs 20, average 20 minutes to cover the distance

2) Vytilla-Kakkanad (Chittettukara)
Bus – 13 kms, Rs 18 to 25 (depending on route), 45 to 60 minutes
Water metro – 5.10 kms, Rs 30, 23 minutes

Rescue cum work boat ready for deployment during emergencies. They are twice as fast as normal passenger boats. Can reach the sites in just 10 minutes upon a mishap. Two more Rescue cum work boats will be deployed in the coming days.

Boat features
Wide glass windows to facilitate commuters enjoy the scenic beauty of the Water Metro routes. Fully air-conditioned. The part where passengers are seated is fully covered, with doors closed. Special safety jacket for toddlers, children, and passengers.

Each boat features a feeding room. The boats have twin-engine catamaran-type design that ensures they stay afloat even during emergencies.

Wide glass windows to facilitate commuters enjoy the scenic beauty of the Water Metro routes. Photo: Manorama

Number of boats
Initially, eight boats will be pressed into service. One more will be added to the lot soon.

The boats can be run both on battery and diesel. They can attain a speed of 8 nautical miles per hour while running on electrical engines and 10 nautical miles on diesel. It takes 15 minutes for full battery charging. Each boat will have a passenger carrying capacity of 100 people, with 50 seats and 50 standing.

There is a facility to prevent travelling of over 100 passengers. The count of the occupants will be taken mechanically, and the same will be flashed on a digital board. Similarly, only 100 persons will be allowed to the pontoon, the platform in between the terminal and the boat, at a time.

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