The following research work conducted by Yogi Joseph of CEPT, Ahmedabad for CPPR aims to highlight the problems ailing the water transportation sector in Kochi. It relied upon extensive review of secondary data, people’s observations about the ferry system recorded through primary surveys, focus group discussions and perception studies to suggest feasible measures towards addressing those problems
The study seeks to understand the problems that ail the water transportation sector in Kochi City Region with specific reference to the hurdles faced by the very people for whom it is meant.
The important role played by the ferry system in the lives of the daily commuters comprised of office-goers and students in KCR.
Over forty percent of the ferry users began their trips closer than one kilometre away from the jetty, which is considered to be walkable in Indian conditions. Similarly, more than fifty percent users head to a destination less than one kilometre away from the jetty.
Even more importantly, thirty-two percent of the interviewees came from a distance between one and five kilometres away from the jetty.
A sizeable sixty-eight percent of the ferry users interviewed had less than ten thousand rupees as their monthly family income. this includes nineteen percent passengers whose monthly income fell below five thousand rupees). Also forty percent of the interviewees vouched that they did not own any vehicle with another thirty-one percent owning just a cycle. The remaining twenty-nine percent owned either motorbikes or cars or autorickshaws.
The major reasons behind people patronising the ferry system inspite of its many obvious shortcomings are that it takes lesser time to travel between Ernakulam and Fort Kochi, say, by the ferry than taking a bus or private vehicle due to the heavy traffic on the city roads especially during peak hours. The same would also apply to sectors such as Ernakulam-Willingdon Island, Vypeen-Willingdon Island and Vypeen-Fort Kochi.also low fair. While a ferry trip from Ernakulam to Fort Kochi costs a mere two rupees and fifty paise, a bus trip costs as much as eleven rupees
Around fifty-six percent of the passengers interviewed for the study expressed their dissatisfaction with the quality of the ferry service.
Around fifty-three responses from amongst the interviewees contended that the frequency of services on various sectors was inadequate and far lesser than the existing demand.
They were also of the opinion that it was the lack of adeqaute number of services, especially during the off-peak hours, that was killing people’s confidence in the ferry system
lack of basic services such as toilets, seating and poor accessibility were the other major issues cited by the passengers.
Many were quick to point out that they had tripped while attempting to reach the jetty at nights. Some others also claimed to having seen snakes roam around in the vicinity. Official explanations were centred on the lack of clarity on whose responsibility it was to maintain the premises.
From the responses obtained from the travelling public, it was understood that the ferry-system needs to undergo a gradual make-over from the utilitarian quality of service delivery that is being offerred presently to a more professionally managed and operated system.
On-board services on ferry vessels also required great improvement in the eyes of the respondents with over seventy-five interviewees hoping to see better and more comfortable seating being provided on board the ferry itself. Another sixty-two respondents hoped to see newspapers being provided on board for the benefit of the users who travel to their offices and institutions in the morning.
Contrary to expectations, the people are willing to cough up a higher amount of money as fare, if only the services were to improve to their expectations. Around forty-three percent of the respondents were found to favour a two-fold hike in the current fare structure so that a two-way trip on the Ernakulam-Fort Kochi sector would cost ten rupees instead of the five rupees prevailing currently . this would still be only half as much as the cost of bus tickets for the same trip. Other advantages include the savings on time and comfort.
From the primary survey conducted on the sample, several issues and obstacles faced by the existing users of the ferry system came to the fore. Based upon those, the following suggestions are put forward
For the entire report. Click here.. Report on Inland Water Navigation- Final