Kerala to announce Water Metro fare structure this week

A fleet of modern ferries will be introduced in the Greater Kochi area as per the project

The State Government is expected to announce the much-awaited fare structure this week for the fleet of modern ferries to be introduced in the Greater Kochi area under the ₹747-crore Water Metro project.

The Indian Institute of Management-Kozhikode (IIM-K) had in February submitted a report to the KMRL, detailing a tentative fare structure. The report was readied after conducting a comprehensive survey among potential ferry passengers who hail from the mainland and also from the islands around the city that the ferries will interconnect.

A bulk of islanders and experts in the public transport sector had said the ticket fares ought to be reasonably priced, since most people who hail from the islands were daily wage earners. The metro agency’s finance wing and its managing director reviewed the survey report and forwarded it to the State government for its approval.

Rollout schedule revised

Highly-placed sources say Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), which is building the 23 ferries, has submitted a revised schedule to the KMRL on the delivery of the vessels. But the KMRL officials preferred to remain tight-lipped about the revised delivery schedule.

As per earlier plan, the first of the 23 ferries—each of which can transport up to 100 passengers—was to be delivered to the KMRL by April end, after undergoing basin trials for each system and sea trials, in the presence of classification surveyors from the Indian Register of Shipping (IRS) and the KMRL officials. It was to operate commercial services in the Vyttila-Kakkanad corridor after trial runs on the stretch, from May.

“The project is already behind schedule by almost two years, due to debate over the material to be used for the hull, following which aluminium was decided over steel. The lockdown and subsequent delay in sourcing components from Europe and other parts of the world caused further slowdown. Ferry-construction works at the CSL had to be halted for about three weeks following the shutdown in Ernakulam district. Work resumed on Monday with half the workforce in attendance, in accordance with pandemic norms and efforts are being made to make up for the man-days lost,” sources say.

The PWD has in the meantime been directed to reconstruct a low-lying bridge near Infopark. This is to raise its height, to enable 4.50-metre vertical clearance for safe movement of ferries up to the IT hub.

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