India’s first ever ‘water metro’ has the potential to help 100,000 islanders living in the area

  • India will soon have its first ever ‘water metro’, which will be functional in December 2019.
  • Connecting 10 islands along the coastal belt of Kochi, the water metro will be a chain of 23 air-conditioned ferries — electric boats — sailing in the water, that will have capacity to fit in nearly 100 passengers.
  • Three years down the line, the water metro will be completely transformed into solar powered boats.
India will soon have its first ever ‘water metro’ — and no, that does not mean it will have rail tracks spread across in the water.

Sailing along the coastal belt of Kochi, the ‘water metro’ will be a chain of 23 air conditioned ferriers — electrical boats — that will connect 10 islands with the capacity to carry 100 passengers.

Kochi — a major port city on the south-west coast of India — will be the first hub in India to achieve such a feet where water transport will be integrated a feeder service to the metro.

It’s also the first time that so much investment — ₹7.5 billion — has been put in to improve water transport services.

The WiFi enabled ferries can sail up to 18 kmph, which is twice the speed of existing ferries. Expected to take off in December 2019, the ‘water metro’ project has the potential to help over 100,000 islanders than live in the area by connecting the 38 jetties across 16 identified routes.

Three years down the line, in 2021, the government has plans to come up with 55 more ferries, bringing the total upto 78, that will have the will have the capacity ferry 50 passengers each.

There are also plans to transform the entire network to solar powered boats making the ‘water metro’ the first of its kind — not just in India, but in all of Asia.

Checks and balances

The water metro will be owned by Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) and is expected to cost ₹7.5 billion. The project, however, is underway with a long term borrowing of ₹5.76 billion from German bank, KFW.

The ‘water metro’ project is important since it will foster the country’s water transport network.

In fact, the project has been recommended by the state government under FAME (faster adoption and manufacture of hybrid and electric vehicles) India scheme, which aims to support electric vehicles market to promote eco-friendly vehicles.

The 23 ferries themselves will cost ₹45 million, while the upcoming 55 ferries will amount to another ₹26 million.

The government is also considering extending the network to Infopark, after they’re able to construct a waterway corridor along the Brahmaputra river.

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