Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) is awaiting the unveiling of a comprehensive mobility plan (CMP) for the Greater Kochi area before making a decision on the extension of the metro’s Phase-III to Cochin International Airport from the Aluva terminal station.
The ongoing work on the phase-II Kakkanad extension and the subsequent airport extension are pivotal to boosting ridership in the mass rapid transport system.
The potential extension from Athani to Angamaly is under consideration, pending the outcome of a traffic study to be conducted as part of the detailed project report (DPR) preparation.
The study will provide insights into factors such as passengers per hour per direction of traffic, according to The Hindu report.
The final draft of the CMP, crafted by the New Delhi-based Urban Mass Transit Company (UMTC), is anticipated to be released in the coming months.
It will assess the necessity of a mass rapid transport system (MRTS) beyond Aluva on the airport and Angamaly corridors.
Subsequently, a DPR will be prepared, and approval from the State and Central governments will be sought for the extension. The metro agency will address queries related to various aspects of the extension, and identification of a funding agency will also be a crucial step.
A comprehensive view on the extension is expected by the end of 2024, provided all processes unfold smoothly.
The potential financial contribution, if any, from Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) for the airport extension will also be examined, with a stakeholder meeting scheduled in the coming months.
In the interim, KMRL is exploring the acquisition of five sets of metro rakes to ensure an optimal number of rakes once the Kakkanad extension is operational by the end of 2025.
The existing fleet comprises 25 rakes, each with three coaches, manufactured by the French firm Alstom. Approximately 15 rakes are utilized for daily operations, and adding five more will facilitate smoother operations, especially with the prospect of more extensions being commissioned at shorter intervals.
The CMP is expected to address the need for an MRTS-like metro in corridors such as Kacheripady-Menaka, Edappally-Vyttila-Aroor, and Thripunithura-Kakkanad, where KMRL has expressed interest in executing metro extensions.
Kochi Metro Phase II
Phase II will have 11 stations covering a length of over 11 km.
The Kochi Metro Rail Phase II network connects Ernakulam City Centre to the suburbs of Infopark and Kakkanad.
The Phase II of the project was approved by the Union cabinet at a cost of Rs 1,957.05 crore.
Phase II Metro will link Water Metro at InfoPark Jetty and Kakkanad Jetty.
It will connect important residential and commercial hubs in the city with well-known transit hubs like railway stations and bus stops, strengthening the idea of multi-modal integration and first/last mile connectivity.
On 1 September, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Petta-SN Junction extension and laid the foundation for Phase II of the Kochi Metro Rail Network.
The proposed stations are Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (new station box), Palarivattom Junction, Palarivattom Bypass, Chembumukku, Vazhakkala, Padamughal (formerly Kunnumpuram), Kakkanad Junction, Cochin SEZ (Special Economic Zone), Chittethukara, KINFRA (formerly Rajagiri), InfoPark 1/Smart City 1, and InfoPark 2/Smart City 2.
The first phase of Kochi Metro from Aluva to Petta, covering a length of 25.6 km with 22 stations, was completed at a cost of Rs 5,181.79 crore and is now fully operational.