Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) to initiate a new perceptible change in the city’s transportation sector by bringing the private bus operators under one roof. The project is a part of the initiative to integrate the public transport system and to introduce a common ticketing system, under the aegis of the Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA).
“KMRL held around six rounds of talks with the private bus associations in the district. So far, they have responded positively to the suggestion to form a company and to operate under it. We are not using any coercive tactics to persuade them. A major discussion in this regard will be held on Monday, in the presence of representatives of Deloitte Ltd, the agency that integrated the transport system in Delhi,” said a KMRL spokesperson.
A presentation was made to explain the benefits that could be achieved by unifying the associations, which are often at opposite poles. The benefits such as bulk procurement of spare parts, which at present are bought individually, were explained to them during the gathering. The spokesperson, added that private bus associations had expressed willingness to shift to the smart-card ticketing system and re-routing of buses.
Ernakulam District Private Bus Owners’ Confederation president K B Suneer said that talks on the matter were progressing with KMRL officials. He said the Associations had agreed to the proposed changes, which are likely to be implemented shortly. “As part of the initiative, a company will be formed involving operators of the 650-odd buses plying in the city, which would resolve the frequent spats over irregular punching and time-keeping. It will also play a major role in changing public perception about private bus service,” Suneer added.