Chennai takes leaf out of Kochi’s integrated public transport plan- The New Indian Express


Express News Service

KOCHI: Chennai Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (CUMTA) officials are in full praise of the initiatives taken by Kochi to improve urban transportation. This was conveyed by the team from CUMTA, which concluded a two-day visit to Kochi on Wednesday.

On its two-day visit, the delegates were impressed with the concept of the ticket-integrated system introduced by Kochi Metro that can be used in different modes of transportation to commute using a single ‘Kochi1 card’. The CUMTA team also discussed the steps taken by Kochi Metropolitan Transport Authority (KMTA) to improve public transport in the city.

“The Tamil Nadu government is keen on establishing the urban mode of transportation through CUMTA in Chennai. As a step towards it, we are visiting metro cities where the unified metropolitan transport authorities have been constituted. Under the peer-to-peer knowledge-sharing program, we visited Kochi,” said CUMTA special officer I Jeyakumar.

Kerala principal secretary transport KR Jyothilal, Kochi Mayor M Anilkumar, KMTA managing director S Shanawas and other officials took part in the discussions. “One of the key takeaways for CUMTA from KMTA is the integrated ticketing system of Kochi Metro rail, private buses and water metro (which is yet to start services). Chennai has the largest suburban railway system in the country and we will try to integrate it with Chennai Metro and road transportation corporation for seamless mobility using a single card so that passengers can travel cashless in any mode of transportation,” said Jeyakumar.

Appreciating KMTA for taking stakeholders like autorickshaw, private bus and taxi drivers on board, Jeyakumar said it is a novel thought and learning experience for the CUMTA team. He said Chennai can also introduce a service along its coastline from north to south Chennai like Kochi Water Metro to improve transportation and tourism.

According to a source, what the Kerala government needs to learn from CUMTA is how the body was formed structurally. After a grand launch in 2020, KMTA struggled to stay afloat due to the lack of staff and expertise. “As a first step to constitute the UMTA as a statutory body for comprehensive mobility plan for Chennai city, the government appointed experts from the field of transportation and recruited employees to take the authority forward. It also allocated a separate budget for the body, whereas in KMTA, the proposal to hire more staff is yet to get approval from the ministry,” said a source. After a dull start, KMTA is reviving and will soon launch the AuSa (Auto Savari) app and plan other projects.

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