As the MG Road stretch of Kochi Metro rail is set to be launched on October 3, KMRL seems to have adopted newer ways to woo passengers. Hoardings with attractive images have popped up on the pillars of Kochi metro. They have been placed from Jose Junction to MG Road in the last three weeks.
The new five-km stretch of Kochi metro will have five stations at JLN stadium, Kaloor, Lisie, MG Road and Maharaja’s College. It will be inaugurated on October 3 by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. With this, the distance that will be covered by Kochi metro will be 18 km. At present, the operational line has covered a distance of 13.2 km starting from Aluva and ending at Palarivattom.
The hoardings are prepared by Zero Degree advertising company in Thrissur and are meant to attract people to the metro rail. It is informed that there are minimal number of passengers who use the metro rail service for regular travel to work and most of the passengers who travel in metro these days ever since it was inaugurated on June 17 are ‘joy riders’.
“Yes, there are plenty of ‘joy riders’ in Kochi metro more than the regular passengers. Sometimes I board the metro rail and I speak to people. The other day I met a pregnant woman who said that the metro rail was a boon for her to travel to work. She regularly travels in Kochi metro. There are such categories of people who feel great but there are also many others who complain about the fares,” said KMRL PRO Reshmi C. R.
The minimum charge for a ride in Kochi metro is Rs. 10 and the maximum is Rs. 40 as of now. When the stretch to Maharaja’s will be opened, the maximum rate will reach Rs.50. There are a section of Kochites who feel uncomfortable with the fare. “People like me will not be benefited by the metro rail. I come from Aluva and even if Kochi metro reaches MG Road, I will not travel regularly in it. The main reason is the high fare. If I travel a month it will cost Rs. 1,500 for one-way trip. This is highly unaffordable for someone who earns Rs.7,000 a month,” said Pramod P. V., a security guard working at a shopping complex at MG Road.
Meanwhile the middle class and upper middle class Kochites welcome the Kochi metro stretch from Palarivattom to Maharaja’s. Praveen Joseph who comes from Thrissur to MG Road for work feels it helpful. “I am looking forward to the new stretch being opened. For a regular traveller like me, I guess it will be a real benefit. I have decided to board the metro rail on daily basis,” he said.
When the public seems to be not much adapted to the metro, the officials at KMRL find the metro service a success in the sense of ridership. “Kochi metro has comparatively better ridership. We have an average of 30,000 riders per day while many other metro services in India failed to catch up in the initial days. Even the Bengaluru and Chennai metro rails had not witnessed this much of riders in the initial months. So we feel better with the figure and yes, people seem to be disciplined while traveling in the metro,” said Reshmi.
Kochi metro is the first metro to be constructed in a Tier-II city. Besides, it has taken lesser time to be functional ever since the construction began in 2013. “It will take time for the people to accept the metro rail as a regular travel mode. And once the stretch connecting the major city spots such as MG Road will be inaugurated, I guess more number of people will choose to travel in metro rail,” said Aluva MLA Anwar Sadath.
The construction of metro stretch connecting Palarivattom and Infopark will be started soon. “I think more number of people will be benefited with this stretch as most of the IT offices are situated here. But yes, once the metro water service will be operational, it will be helpful for people like me. It touches the areas where traffic block is a regular affair. People from Cherthala, Kundanoor and Chandroor will be benefited. It is heard the fare will also be affordable,” Pramod said.