As Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Kochi Metro on Saturday, Kerala has begun its dream ride with pride. Kochi Metro, being the first metro service of the State, is the eighth inter-city metro project of the country.
The 5181-crore project offers several facilities and is also the longest first-phase metro operation in the country. While India has metro rail services in the cities of Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Jaipur, Gurgaon, Bengaluru and Chennai, new projects are underway in 11 cities.
The Kochi metro project became the first metro in the country which connects rail, road and water transport facilities. It provides free Wi-Fi in the coaches as well as stations. Themed stations also attract the passengers.
Here are some of the specialties of Kochi Metro:
Shortest completion schedule:
It is a huge success that the project became a reality in a record time of 45 months when compared to other metro services in the country. In comparison, Mumbai Metro took 75 months to finish its first 11-km run while Chennai Metro took 72 months for its first phase of 4 km. While Jaipur Metro took 56 months for the first 9.02 km, Delhi Metro took 50 months for the first 8.5 km, and Bangalore Metro 50 months for the first 8.5 km run.
A green Metro:
The Kochi Metro is a confident step towards clean energy, and it is the first metro service in the country to use solar power to meet a quarter of its electricity requirements.
With every one of its 23 stations having solar panels, which can generate 2.3 mega watts (MW), and plans are underway to meet as much as half of its electricity demands through solar power.
Also, every sixth of the 4,000-odd metro pillars will have a vertical garden which will use recycled municipal waste. The metro is also offering bicycles for free at every station for passengers to roam around the city.
Kochi metro service is the first in India to have a workforce that comprises 80% women. Seven out of the total 39 loco pilots are women.
Kudumbashree was awarded the contract for the management and maintenance of the metro.
Equal opportunities for transgenders and differently abled:
Kochi is the first metro and the first state-owned company in India to “officially” offer employment to a large number of transgender. Twenty-three of the 60 transgender employees, whom Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) has hired for operations ranging from ticketing to maintenance, are at work from Saturday.
Differently abled friendly coaches are other major attractions.
Water ferry services:
Apart from offering mobility solution, the Kochi metro also plans to offer boat rides with water transport envisaged as a feeder service to the rail corridor.
The Rs 819-crore “water metro” project is in the works to connect the metro to the 10 islands of Kochi, with the first phase of the water corridor expected to be operational by the end of 2018.
Each station has a different theme. When Kaloor station has a sports theme, Aluva station fills its walls with Western Ghats and Periyar.
While one of the stations, CUSAT, has a water-theme, paintings of aquatic animals line the walls of Pathadippalam station.
Muttam is themed on birds while Palarivattom station has floral interiors.