“There must be some urgent intervention from policy makers regarding revival of public transport systems. The state of public transport is a clear indicator of a crashing economy. Better strategies and more policies could revive the sinking system and attract its customers back” comments Dr Dhanuraj in a news report published in The Times of India on the public transport system in Kochi
With the Metro resuming its services last week, all modes of public transport system have been activated in the city. But the question is, have they succeeded in attracting their customers back?
Fear of infection spread in public transports along with their factors have kept regular public transport commuters at bay. Experts in the field suggest a proper ramping up of the system is needed to revive the sector and this, they said, should not be done in haste.
Since resuming services on September 7 and commissioning operations from Aluva to Petta, the Kochi Metro has started to record an average ridership of 8,000 per day. This is in sharp contrast to the average ridership of 65,000 per day during pre-Covid times.
In 2019, more than 1.6 crore passengers travelled in the Metro and opening of the stretch from Maharaja’s College to Thykoodam in September last year had led to a surge in ridership. However, Kochi Metro was forced to suspend its operations for 168 days from March 23 to September 6 in 2020. In case of private buses, private bus operators association said during pre-Covid period there were about 2,300 buses operating in the district. “But now the number has come down to 350,” said PBOA district general secretary K B Suneer.
Even autorickshaws and taxi operators have been facing similar ordeal.
“Be it private buses, autos or taxi services, these operators are unable to meet fuel and maintenance expenses. There must be some urgent intervention from policy makers regarding revival of public transport systems. The state of public transport is a clear indicator of a crashing economy. Better strategies and more policies could revive the sinking system and attract its customers back,” said D Dhanuraj, chairman of city-based think tank, CPPR. Meanwhile, city police which has been closely monitoring traffic movement counter the general perception that increase in the movement of private vehicles have led to traffic congestion.
ACP Vijayan T B, (traffic west) said it is mainly people who come to work in the city arrive in private vehicles. “Otherwise there is a drop in number of people coming to Kochi from other regions. As trade and commerce, tourism and entertainment, shopping and other similar activities have considerably reduced there is a decrease in inflow of private vehicles.”
However, when commercial activities pick up and more public transport starts hitting the city roads, ‘there would be chaos’, he added.
This news report was published in The Times of India on September 16, 2020. Click here to read