Commuters dependent on public transport in Kochi, Kerala’s financial capital, got a pre-Onam gift on Tuesday as the Kochi Metro’s services were extended to Thykoodam, adding five more stations to the train network. Two important hot-spots – Vyttila, the state’s busiest traffic junction and an important intra-state bus hub and Ernakulam South, the city’s central railway station, are now a part of the Kochi Metro network with the extension.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, MoS in charge of urban transport, officially cut the ribbon together, marking the formal start of the Metro services to Thykoodam. Till Tuesday, the Metro ran from Aluva to Maharaja’s College, a distance of 18 kms over 16 stations. Now, five more stations – Ernakulam South, Kadavanthra, Elamkulam, Vyttila and Thykoodam – have been added to the network taking the overall route length to 23.65 kms. This marks the near-completion of the first phase of the Metro in the city.
At a function held at the Rajiv Gandhi Indoor stadium, CM Vijayan and MoS Puri also gave formal sanction to the extension up to SN Junction and held the ground-breaking ceremony of the first terminal of the ambitious Water Metro project. Health Minister KK Shylaja also travelled on the Metro Tuesday along with nurses as a tribute to their role in the state’s health sector.
MoS Puri affirmed that the Centre would give the highest priority to the projects of the state government, including taking Metro services in the second phase to the IT hub of Kakkanad. “With this extension, we will have 663 kms of operational Metro lines in India,” said Puri.
In his address, CM Vijayan lauded the works of the Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), which gave consultative assistance under the leadership of India’s Metroman E Sreedharan.
“The face of Kochi will change with this extension of the Metro. The number of passengers using the Metro services will rise as it passes through the heart of the city and connects to Vytilla, the state’s busiest traffic junction, and Ernakulam South,” said Vijayan.
The chief minister added that construction on all terminals of the Water Metro is progressing at a fast pace and that the project is expected to be commissioned in March 2020. The Water Metro aims to connect all the islands around the Vembanad backwaters in the Greater Cochin to major road, train and Metro stations. At present, the Vyttila hub also serves as a bus and ferry terminal. With the addition of the Metro station, Vytilla can be easily reached by commuters.
“We want to take full advantage of the potential of the water bodies around Kochi,” the chief minister added.
The Metro’s extension services to Thykoodam will be thrown open to the public from September 4 and there are discounts on QR code ticket and Kochi1 card holders for the first week.