STAFF REPORTER | The Hindu | May 10, 2017

KMRL to offer discounts to frequent commuters; smart cards to be launched this month

The Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) is all set to begin service trials using seven trains on the metro’s Aluva-Palarivattom corridor from Wednesday.

A total of 142 trips will be operated on the corridor from 6 a.m. to 9.30 p.m. The trials will begin using empty trains running at intervals every 10 minutes. As days go by, public announcements at stations and in trains, and other systems will be added in the trials.

The final days of the trial will see trains loaded with metro employees cruise at set speeds and halt at stations.

This will test whether passengers can embark and disembark as per schedule and whether Kudumbasree and security personnel at stations can manage the number of people.

Schedule finalised

“The schedule has been finalised by the metro agency’s operations wing,” sources said. Trains had successfully operated multiple trials along the corridor during extensive trial runs that began a year ago on the corridor.

Discounts for commuters

The Kochi metro will offer discounts to prepaid card holders who travel frequently.

“These smart cards, named Kochi-1, will be launched this month, prior to the metro’s commissioning,” said KMRL managing director Elias George.

“The percentage of discount for different categories will be announced shortly. A schedule is being worked out. Our aim is to encourage commuters to use the metro continually, lessening congestion, pollution and accidents on roads,” he added.

The metro agency’s director board had authorised Mr. George to finalise the discounted fares for monthly prepaid cards. The metro agency had entered into a tie-up with Axis Bank for issuing cards, setting up radio-frequency identification devices (RFID) in stations, and feeder services such as buses. It will later be extended to ferries, resulting in commuters being able to travel cashless in different modes of public transport.

Most other metros, including Delhi Metro which revised fares recently, offer discounted rates to regular commuters. Some discounts are in the range of 30%.

Kochi Metro’s tickets will be priced from ?10 to ?40 in the 13-km-long Aluva-Palarivattom corridor. This will go up to ?65 for travel up to Pettah, covering 25 kms.

The chairman of city-based Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR), D. Dhanuraj, sought good discounts, since the average trip length would be relatively low for Kochi as compared to longer distances that Delhi Metro commuters travel. “Announcing good discounts will catalyse private vehicle owners to opt for the metro. Rest of the funds for the metro’s operation and maintenance must be raised from alternative revenue modes such as real estate development and the proposed metro village.”

Delhi Metro has a slew of prepaid cards, including tourist cards, using which visitors to the city can travel cashless for up to three days.

This news was first published in The Hindu on May 10, 2017Click here to read the original news: Metro service trials begin today

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