19 Jan Experiences of the Kochi Metro
When the first run of Kochi Metro happened, Pune’s newspapers published a headline that despite Pune being amongst the first cities that proposed a Metro, Kochi beats Pune by finishing its first line ahead of time.
So yesterday I visited the Kochi Metro and took a ride from JNL Stadium to Aluva before heading for the airport. And I must say that I have come away impressed with the way they have executed the project! I could still see finishing works happening in some places, but the stations, the entire elevated track and the fact that even at 12 noon (non peak time), considerable people were using the Metro was impressive. As soon as I entered the JNL Stadium Station I was greeted by sports graffitti on the walls and the steps leading to the Metro platform. The colors, the graphics and the signages as well as attendants inside the Metro station, all suggested simple professionalism being effectively executed at ground level.
As we see in other countries, this line of Metro is proposed to be connected by a walking sky bridge to one of the biggest and most popular shopping malls, the Lulu Mall. I remember in Dubai and Hongkong all Metro Stations open inside Shopping Malls to promote use of public transport for leisure.
As I spoke to people, I realised that using a Metro is yet to catch on in Kochi. Primarily there are 2 reasons that use of public transport will be probably slow in Kochi. One is that Parking space is still available and mostly free. Secondly, traffic congestion is still not a burning issue for the city. So I would think that Kochi has really established the Metro as a future thinking project. Something that a city like Pune should have done about 7-8 years ago. Sitting inside one, I could see the Metro offered the citizens a hassle free commute – where people listened to music, read a book or simply took a nap, all the while away from the air & noise pollution of the city below. In comparison, the two wheeler commute is a nightmare for most, isn’t it?
Here are some video clips of my ride in Kochi Metro. The Edapally, the biggest and important Church can be seen in one clip, while most views give a beautiful coconut trees landscape. Kochi Metro has made an impressive beginning and Punekars should eagerly await the PuneMetro and embrace it with open arms. Remember, arrival of a Metro in any city will give its residents, young & old, a safe commute option within the city!