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Info 28 Oct 2022 | 12:26 pm

EU offers help to modernise public transport in Kochi

The union could help ready a drainage masterplan for city for climate-resilience, says Mayor The union could help ready a drainage masterplan for city for climate-resilience, says Mayor The European Union (EU) will help ready a cluster to make available financial and technical help to modernise public transport in Kochi, it was decided here on Thursday at the conclusion of the two-day workshop on Smart Cities and Sustainable Urban Development.

The union could help ready a drainage masterplan for city for climate-resilience, says Mayor

The union could help ready a drainage masterplan for city for climate-resilience, says Mayor

The European Union (EU) will help ready a cluster to make available financial and technical help to modernise public transport in Kochi, it was decided here on Thursday at the conclusion of the two-day workshop on Smart Cities and Sustainable Urban Development.

The workshop was hosted under the banner of the India-EU Urban Partnership Programme.

Panellists and others sought steps to introduce a system by which passengers could avail free commute in public transport systems, which could in turn be cross-subsidised.

Addressing the valedictory session, Mayor M. Anilkumar said EU could help ready a drainage masterplan for Kochi to bring about a climate-resilient city. “Kochi had much to learn from the Dutch. They opted for innovative construction modes and water storage facilities to combat climate change. The lifestyle and attitude of people must change,” he said in his concluding remarks.

Mr. Anilkumar further announced that a total of 200 e-autos would be rolled out in the city by March 2023, of which 100 will be introduced in November. The city needs more pedestrian spaces and open public spaces for children.

On what to expect from a water-borne mobility system for Kochi, Olivier Crouzier, a senior transport economist from France, said ferries offered a convenient, eco-friendly, and soothing mode of commute. Having immense potential to attract tourists, the agencies that operate them must directly reach out to tourists, he said and exhorted stakeholders to woo commuters to public transport systems through incentives.

Child-friendly cities

Paolo Gandolfi, the head of territorial development department, Municipality of Reggio Emilia in Italy, said it was much safer for children to move around streets in the region until automobiles took over. Steps are being taken to hew out child-friendly neighbourhoods. Vehicles now have designated pay and park spaces, from where mini buses ferried them free of cost to different areas.

Elaborating on the components of an ideal Mobility as a Service (MaaS) system, James Nguyen, software architect from MaaS Global, Finland, called for arraying different mobility providers under an app and a unified payment mode. Public and private stakeholders must work in unison with the end user in mind, he added.

Nikita Krishnan, a key expert of India-EU Urban Partnership Project, said efforts were under way in EU member countries to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Ankush Malhotra, assistant vice president of SYSTRA, which is implementing the Mobilise Your City project, called for steps to strengthen the Kochi Metropolitan Transport Authority (KMTA) (that is currently facing acute manpower crunch).

Inadequate connectivity

Ernakulam District Residents Associations’ Apex Council (EDRAAC) president Rangadasa Prabhu deplored the inadequate first- and last-mile connectivity options for the Kochi metro and expressed dismay at slack coordination among the 56 State government departments. They must directly engage with citizens, he said.

KMTA executive officer G.P. Hari presented a status report on the mobility vision in the Greater Kochi area. He cited the need for transport planners, engineers, and economists in agencies that ready mobility projects.

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