Sudha Nambudiri | TNN | Oct 8, 2017

KOCHI: For Kochi Metro, Sundays and public holidays are the biggest revenue earning days.

According to information on passenger ticket collection received through Right to Information Act (RTI), the highest single day collection earned by Kochi Metro Rail Ltd(KMRL) since it launched the service from June 19 was Rs 34.01 lakh on June 26.

The RTI reply which shows the revenue collection from June 19 to August 23 indicates a fall of more than 50% in ticket collection on weekdays, while the highest collection even on those days were on Sundays and August 15, a public holiday.

The data shows that the highest collection of Rs 12 lakh and above was in the first two weeks of the inauguration of the Metro. The figures fell drastically to less than Rs 10 lakh per day after that, Sundays being an exception.

KMRL officials said that this was to be expected. “It would take at least one year for any Metro to stabilize. The director board of KMRL has authorized managing director Elias George to make decisions on fixing of fare. Now, we are studying the pattern of passengers. We still expect that the ridership will go up in the coming days,” a KMRL official said.

The private bus operators who are expected to feel the brunt of this new commuter service say that the extension into the city is likely to have a deep impact on their services.

“The Aluva-Palarivattom route didn’t have many takers as the cost of the tickets was slightly high. However, with the extension of the service into the city, we expect to lose passengers on this route,” said Abdul Kalam, vice-president of Ernakulam private bus operators’ organization.

He said that it is becoming difficult to sustain bus services. “We were asked by the Metro to form societies or companies to operate services. However, there has not been any development on that. Unless we are also pooled into the connecting services, many of us will have to stop the bus services,” he said.

This is an issue that cannot be ignored, said D Dhanuraj, chairman of Kochi-based think tank, Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR).

“KSRTC is planning to introduce new buses. You can’t ignore the private players. This is an era of public-private partnerships (PPP). Private bus operators should also be pooled in to make a compact transport system,” he said.

“It is indeed a matter of concern that the Kochi Metro is functioning as a tourist service or a shoppers’ transport. If the passenger traffic is coming down in week days, it has to be looked into. Also parking issues at Maharaja’s College Ground station will have to be addressed fast,” he said.

KMRL officials said that the agency is proposing to introduce monthly and full-day tickets on subsidized rates.

“Using a single card, the commuters can make up to 60 trips. We are yet to finalize the rate of such cards,” the official said.

This news was first published in The Times of India, click here to read:  Metro earns highest revenue on Sundays, public holidays

Featured Image Source: Kochi Metro Facebook

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