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Kochi is one of the fastest growing metropolises in south India. The city is the commercial capital of Kerala with a population of about 2.1 million, including the Central Business District (CBD) and the suburbs.
Having most of the commercial establishments and government offices within the distance of a hundred sq km, a robust public transport framework is the key to the sustainable development of Kochi. Although the city has a good number of public transportation options, (more than 10,000 bus trips enter city limits daily) the citizens are increasingly resorting to the use of private automobiles, due to the spike in economic conditions in recent times.
Estimates indicate that there is a car for every five individuals in the city compared to one for every eight at the state level. If commuters continue to use private cars at this rate, for their mobility requirements, the result would be more pollution and congestion, and a decline in human productivity. It is in this context that the Kochi Public Transport Day (KPTD) is proposed to create awareness on the benefits and popularise the use of public transport in Kochi.
KPTD is a collaborative platform incorporating all the stakeholders in the city’s public transport system to popularise the various modes of public transport among the commuters. The target group for the campaign is all types of commuters within the city limits. The platform will also ensure feedback mechanisms by conducting surveys and studies among the stakeholders on various aspects of public transport in Kochi, so that improvements can be suggested to the authorities concerned. This voluntary effort could, in the long run, play a facilitator’s role to the Kochi Metropolitan Transport Authority.
KPTD will aim to identify and present solutions to the challenges faced by the vast majority of commuters in the city. The main event related to the campaign will be a particular day every month designated as Kochi Public Transport Day.
Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR) will partner with government, quasi-government and local bodies such as the Road Transport Authority, Cochin Municipal Corporation, Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL), city police, bus owners associations, chambers of commerce and industry, and suburban local governments around the city. This campaign will also involve students and youth groups through competitions and awareness programmes at school and college levels.

 

SCHEDULE

TIME

PROGRAMME

9.55 am

Volunteers assemble at Ernakulam KSRTC bus stand

10 am–12 pm

People-friendly transport – cleaning drive at KSRTC bus stand and surrounds by volunteers

2.55 pm

Volunteers assemble at Fort Kochi jetty

3 pm–4 pm

People-friendly transport – cleaning drive at Fort Kochi jetty and surrounds by volunteers

4.15 pm

Guests travel by ferryboat from Fort Kochi jetty to Ernakulam jetty

4.35 pm

Guests arrive in Ernakulam jetty

4.45 pm

Guests travel by bus from Ernakulam jetty to MG Road metro station

4.55 pm

Guests travel by metro rail from MG Road metro station to Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium metro station

5.05 pm

Website launch of KPTD

5.10 pm

Handover of HPCL/BPCL/IOC fuel cards by KMRL to auto-rickshaw drivers

5.15 pm

Honouring metro rail passengers of highest patronage

5.20 pm

Media session

KEY THEMES FROM THE EVENT
The first edition of KPTD was observed on January 27, 2018. KPTD is a year-long movement driven by CPPR, along with representatives from the local administration and state departments, and stakeholders in the city’s public transport system.
The project aims to emphasise the fact that the public have a say in the way the city functions. The activities are planned in such a way that the public will have a major role to play. The representatives of civil society groups such as residents associations will be the main stakeholders in the project. The public transport day website will be an open portal, where people can post their opinions and ideas regarding the existing public transport system in the city.

Figure 1: Itinerary of First Edition of KPTD

 

  • Cleaning Drive at KSRTC Bus Stand: The day started with a cleaning drive and awareness programmes on the benefits of using public transport at Ernakulam KSRTC bus stand. Team CPPR, various civil society organisations and NSS volunteers from Sacred Heart College, Ernakulam, led the cleaning drive. KPTD supporters wore a ‘blue ribbon’ to express their solidarity. Flyers were distributed among the commuters, KSRTC staff members, bus drivers, shop owners etc. The event ended around 12 pm with a vote of thanks to the organisers and students for their participation.

 

  • Cleaning Drive at Fort Kochi Jetty: Team CPPR along with the volunteer group started the cleaning drive at Fort Kochi jetty at 3 pm. They went on to tidy up the jetty and surrounds in an hour.

 

  • Symbolic Journey Marking KPTD Launch: Mr Hibi Eden MLA and Mr APM Mohammed Hanish (MD, KMRL) along with other guests joined the team around 4.15 pm to take part in the symbolic ride using three modes of transport – water, road and metro rail. The motley group began their journey by ferryboat from Fort Kochi jetty to Ernakulam jetty, followed by a bus ride to MG Road metro station and culminating in a metro ride to Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium metro station.

 

  • The guests arrived in Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium metro station to launch the dedicated website for KPTD (www.kochipublictransportday.org). KMRL organised the distribution of HPCL/BPCL/IOC fuel cards to auto-rickshaw drivers. Four metro passengers of highest patronage were also honoured.

 

  • The event ended with a vote of thanks by D Dhanuraj (Chairman, CPPR), who urged the people of Kochi to accept this novel initiative and contribute towards enhancing the city’s role in achieving sustainable mobility, conserving environment and bettering lives.

 

 

 

 

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