The first meeting in association with the Public Transport Day campaign was held on December 18, 2017 at the Government Guest House in Kochi. The objective of the meeting was to involve all the stakeholders in an open discussion and encourage them to contribute the best ideas for the promotion of public transport in the city. Around 40 representatives of government departments, NGOs, socio-cultural organisations, educational institutions and trade groups attended.
D Dhanuraj (Chairman, CPPR) briefly introduced the yearlong campaign. The discussion opened to the public with Ms Soumini Jain, the Honourable Mayor of Kochi, putting forward her views. The Mayor spoke about the unplanned growth of Kochi city. The increase in the number of vehicles has led to more pollution, excessive use of fuel and traffic congestion. She cited the absence of last mile connectivity as one of the major reasons that dissuaded people from utilising public transport services. The Mayor concluded that building more roads was not a viable solution for the challenges in the transport sector.
Mr Hibi Eden MLA spoke on the need for a cultural transition. He referred to the examples of European countries like Switzerland and Netherlands, wherein the most prominent mode of transport is non-motorised and public transport. He stressed on how we need to effectively use the public spaces and make them pedestrian friendly. There is a need for awareness generation and transition to cleaner fuels like CNG and ethanol, as done by Indian cities like Delhi. Mr Hibi Eden concluded by pointing out that Kochi being a coastal city is a low-lying area, and thereby will be most affected by climate change.
Representatives from various organisations added to the list of issues faced by the people of Kochi as regards public transport today. They also extended their complete support for the campaign. Following the discussion, a core committee involving the representatives of various associations was formed to work out plans of the campaign. The core committee will meet every month to take the campaign forward.
News related to the meeting in print media