In recent times, Kerala has witnessed the introduction of new transport services aimed at providing sustainable and eco-friendly commuting options for its residents. The Vande Bharat Express, a high-speed train, and the Kochi Water Metro have garnered significant attention and popularity since their inception. The increasing demand for these services raises an important question: Are these new transport services tempting enough to make people ditch their cars and embrace sustainable alternatives? This article explores the impact of these initiatives and analyzes the challenges and opportunities for fostering a culture of public transportation in Kerala.
1. The Rise of Sustainable Transport Services
The Vande Bharat Express and the Kochi Water Metro have undoubtedly revolutionized the transportation landscape in Kerala. These services offer fast and efficient means of travel, reducing both travel time and carbon emissions. The Vande Bharat Express, known for its speed and comfort, has become a preferred choice for many commuters. Similarly, the Kochi Water Metro provides a unique experience of traveling by water, attracting locals and tourists alike.
2. Accessibility Challenges
While the new transport services have garnered immense popularity, accessibility remains a significant concern. D Dhanuraj, a think tank expert, highlights the need for end-to-end seamless transportation and emphasizes that these services are not accessible to everyone in Kerala. Limited availability of public transportation is a crucial challenge, as only about 30 percent of Kerala’s roads are served by public transport. To make public transport a viable option, efforts should be made to improve first and last-mile connectivity.
3. Addressing Connectivity Issues
Akash PR, a young business consultant, shares his experience of traveling between Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi. He acknowledges the benefits of services like the Vande Bharat Express but continues to rely on his car due to the lack of easily available and convenient transport options within the city. Inadequate frequency and limited operating hours pose challenges for individuals who require flexible travel arrangements. Enhancing the availability and frequency of services would encourage more people to choose public transport over private vehicles.
4. Cultivating a Culture of Public Transport
Santhosh Thannikat, coordinator of Cykochi, emphasizes the importance of building a culture that promotes public transport usage. He suggests imposing higher taxes and fees for private vehicles in the city to incentivize a shift in mindset. By creating complementary services such as safe cycling lanes and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, the existing transport ecosystem can be enhanced. These initiatives not only reduce congestion but also contribute to a cleaner and healthier environment.
The introduction of sustainable transport services like the Vande Bharat Express and the Kochi Water Metro marks a positive step toward reducing the reliance on private vehicles in Kerala. However, to truly make people embrace these alternatives, addressing accessibility challenges and improving first and last-mile connectivity are vital. Building a culture of public transport users requires a comprehensive approach that integrates different modes of transportation and promotes eco-friendly commuting options. With concerted efforts and careful planning, Kerala can pave the way for a sustainable transport future.
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