Under the EU supported SOLUTIONS project, Mr. Kezhen Wang, Director, Hangzhou Public Transport Company along with Mr Chao li, Research Officer, China Academy for Transport Studies from ‘leading city’ Hangzhou recently visited ‘take up’ city Cochin to understand the mobility scenario in the city, as part of the knowledge exchange process under the project. Cochin Mayor, Mr. Tony Chammany, through local media channels, introduced the project and the Chinese delegation and the purpose of their visit to the public.
A brief meeting was organised by the Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) to highlight the city’s efforts to improve mobility scenario in the city. Being the unified transport authority for Cochin city, KMRL is undertaking various measures that can integrate different modes of transport that can facilitate seamless commute for citizens. A presentation was made by Mr. Wang who gave a quick brief about the transport scenario in Hangzhou and the various public transport options available for people to choose according to their trip needs.
A detailed presentation was also made on Hangzhou’s Public Bicycle Sharing (PBS) system, which is the world’s largest. Mr. Wang stressed that any PBS system should be implemented in the city as public facility rather than a revenue generating model. While Hangzhou PBS’s system has become one of the last mile connectivity options for Hangzhou, 90% of the trips made are utilized in less than 30 minutes which is free for all types of users. The majority of revenue for PBS system comes from advertisement revenue. While implementing PBS system, Hangzhou had made several amendments to their advertisement policy to garner revenue for operation and maintenance of the system.
The Chinese delegates were taken to the water ways department to explain the functioning of inland water ways as public transport facility. The also visited the Kochi railway station to understand the functioning of sub-urban rails for daily commuters from surrounding sub-urban areas in Kochi metropolitan region.
KMRL, as part of their wider strategies to improve mobility situation in the city, has initiated various infrastructure measures that can be integrated to provide make commuting easier for the people of Cochin. Station accessibility being a primary component in order attract ridership towards metro rail, KMRL has initiated efforts to engage citizens in planning and designing the station areas according to the local conditions and demand. A half day workshop was organised by KMRL, in association with Embarq India and ICLEI South Asia on development of safe access to metro stations. Two major stations – Kalamassery and Lissie, have been thus selected to identify various issues to redesign the station location and surrounding areas which can integrate other modes of transport.