Exclusive Interview with Shri Loknath Behera, Managing Director, Kochi Metro Rail Limited

Interview Insights: 

Rail Analysis: Please tell us about your journey in the metro sector. As the Managing Director of such an advanced metro transportation system, what are your views on how the Kochi metro system is beneficial for the city?

Shri Loknath Behera: The Kochi Metro system stands as a transformative force for the city, contributing significantly to its growth and development. The Kochi metro provides a reliable and efficient mode of transportation for the residents, reducing congestion on the roads and promoting a more sustainable travel option. By encouraging the use of public transport, we are contributing to a cleaner and greener environment.

The metro system serves as a catalyst for economic development by improving connectivity and accessibility. It facilitates the easy movement of people, goods, and services, fostering business growth, attracting investments, and creating job opportunities. With its fast and punctual services, the Kochi metro saves commuters valuable time in their daily travels.

Additionally, the cost-effectiveness of metro travel compared to private transportation options makes it an attractive choice for a wide range of residents. Ensuring the safety and comfort of passengers is a top priority. The metro system is equipped with state-of-the-art safety features and offers a comfortable and secure environment for passengers, making it a preferred choice for daily commuters.

Kochi Metro is designed to integrate seamlessly with other modes of transportation, including buses, auto rickshaws and water metro. This multimodal integration enhances the overall efficiency of the city’s transportation network, providing commuters with a convenient and interconnected system. The metro system plays a vital role in enhancing urban connectivity, linking key areas of the city and promoting a more integrated and accessible urban landscape. This, in turn, contributes to the overall quality of life for residents.

In essence, the Kochi metro system is not just a mode of transportation, it is a key enabler of positive change for the city. It fosters sustainable development, economic prosperity, and a higher and better quality of life for the people of Kochi.



Rail Analysis: Kochi Metro is evidently set to become the country’s most integrated metro system. Please share your views on how the water metro enables the complete system to become sustainable. Are there any more world-class facilities that we can expect in Kochi Metro?

Shri Loknath Behera: The integration of the Kochi Metro with the water metro is a pivotal aspect of our commitment to creating a truly comprehensive and sustainable transportation network. The water metro project is a unique initiative that leverages the vast network of backwaters in Kochi, making it an integral part of our overall strategy for sustainability.

The water metro complements the existing metro system by providing seamless connectivity to areas not directly accessible by road or rail. By integrating waterways into the transportation network, we enhance the city’s overall connectivity, ensuring that residents can conveniently travel to various destinations using a mix of metro, buses, and ferries. By encouraging the use of waterways for commuting, we contribute to a reduction in traffic congestion and subsequently decrease environmental pollution.

The water metro not only reduces the carbon footprint associated with traditional road transportation but also supports Kochi’s environmental sustainability goals. By opting for water-based commuting, we actively contribute to the preservation of the city’s natural resources. The water metro is designed to provide effective last-mileconnectivity, ensuring that commuters can reach their destinations with minimal hassle. This integration enhances the overall accessibility of the metro system, making it a more attractive and user-friendly option for the residents of Kochi. Our commitment to providing world-class facilities extends beyond just transportation. We are dedicated to enhancing the overall commuting experience for our passengers. Kochi Metro is at the forefront of incorporating cutting-edge technology into its infrastructure. From advanced signaling systems to smart ticketing options, we are continually investing in technology to provide a seamless and efficient travel experience.

Our focus is on creating a comfortable and convenient environment for passengers. Expect world-class amenities such as trains with Wi-Fi connectivity, clean and well-maintained coaches, and facilities for differently-abled passengers. Passengers’ safety is of utmost importance. We have implemented state-of-the-art safety and security measures, including surveillance systems, emergency response protocols, and continuous monitoring to ensure a secure journey for all commuters.

Kochi Metro is committed to environmentally friendly practices. We are actively exploring green initiatives, including energy-efficient technologies, waste reduction measures, and sustainable station designs, to contribute to the city’s ecological well-being.



Rail Analysis: Kochi Metro Rail Limited has commissioned UMTC to do a revised study on the Aluva-Kochi airport extension, which is part of Phase III of the metro project. When can we anticipate work to begin on Kochi Metro Phase 3?

Shri Loknath Behera: Phase III of the metro project is from Aluva to Angamaly with a line going forward to the Kochi Airport. The project proposal document is being prepared to be submitted to the Government for approvals. Once approved by the State and Central Government, the project is expected to begin. At this point we can’t predict when the construction would start.



Rail Analysis: Please tell us about the status of the Mattancherry and Fort Kochi metro terminals, as well as the significant challenges in their execution? What opportunities will these terminals provide to the passengers?

Shri Loknath Behera: The status of the Mattancherry & Fort Kochi Terminal is given below:

Mattancherry Terminal:

  • Construction activities at Mattancherry have commenced and are currently in progress.
  • The terminal’s location falls within the regulated zone of the Archeological Survey of India (ASI), posing unique challenges in construction apart from piling in the water.

Fort Kochi Terminal:

  • Construction activities at the Fort Kochi terminal are in the finishing stages, and revenue operations are set to commence shortly.
  • The terminal is strategically located in an area with high tourist footfall, demanding construction activities to be carried out with minimal disturbance to tourists.

Challenges in Execution:

a) Regulatory Compliance at Mattancherry:

  • Mattancherry terminal is situated in the regulated zone of ASI, necessitating compliance with specific regulations. The terminal structure is designed to adhere to a maximum height of 9 meters, and major structural works are limited to the inter-tidal zone due to environmental considerations. Work activities can only be executed during low tide, limiting the available construction time.

b) Unique Construction Requirements:

  • The Mattancherry terminal’s construction requires innovative approaches due to its unique setting on the water. Adhering to ASI regulations and constructing a terminal entirely on water presents engineering challenges that demand careful planning and execution

c) Tourist Sensitivity in Fort Kochi:

  • Fort Kochi, being a prominent tourist area, required special attention during construction to minimize disruptions to tourists. Balancing the need for infrastructure development with preserving the local tourism experience posed a significant challenge. Similarly the construction of floating pontoon poses challenge due to proximity to the sea.

Opportunities for Passengers:

The Fort Kochi terminal, located in a key area, offers passengers seamless intermodal connectivity. Upon arriving at the terminal, passengers can easily access various transportation options to different destinations, enhancing overall convenience. The Mattancherry terminal, situated in a key tourist locale, provides an eco-friendly and convenient means for the public to access the area. This not only improves accessibility but also aligns with sustainability goals. Both terminals are strategically positioned to boost tourism. By providing efficient water transport options, the terminals contribute to decongesting roads leading to the Ernakulam tourism hub, enhancing the overall experience for visitors. The introduction of water metro terminals is expected to alleviate road congestion, particularly in areas leading to tourist hubs. This benefits both local residents and visitors by providing an alternative and efficient mode of transportation.



Rail Analysis: What essential steps are being taken to make travel more sustainable for passengers from the Kochi City Region’s transport system? What are the most notable achievements to date and what more initiatives does Kochi Metro have in the future for the city?

Shri Loknath Behera: There are many significant efforts we are undertaking to enhance the sustainability of travel within the Kochi City Region’s transport system. Kochi Metro has implemented a multi-faceted approach to make travel more sustainable for passengers: We are working towards a seamless integration of various modes of transportation, including metro, buses, and ferries. This integrated approach not only improves connectivity but also promotes a shift towards more sustainable and eco-friendly modes of travel. The introduction of the Water Metro is a pioneering initiative that leverages Kochi’s natural waterways. This project not only provides an alternative mode of transport but also significantly reduces the carbon footprint associated with conventional road-based transportation. Our focus is on improving last-mile connectivity. By enhancing accessibility to metro stations through pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, cycle-sharing programs, and improved feeder services, we aim to encourage more people to choose sustainable modes of transportation. Kochi Metro is committed to environmental sustainability.

We have incorporated energy-efficient technologies in our operations, implemented waste reduction measures, and are exploring renewable energy sources to power our facilities.

Notable Achievements to Date:

Kochi Metro has achieved significant milestones since its inception, transforming the city’s public transportation landscape. Here’s a brief overview of its notable achievements:

a. Increased Ridership: Kochi Metro has experienced a commendable rise in ridership since its inauguration. The introduction of a reliable and efficient metro system has encouraged more people to use public transportation, reducing traffic congestion and promoting sustainable commuting habits.

b. Operational Profitability: One of the noteworthy achievements of Kochi Metro is its transformation from operational loss to operational profit. Through effective management and strategic planning, the metro system has successfully balanced its operational costs and revenues, ensuring financial sustainability within 6 months.

c. Women Empowerment: Kochi Metro has prioritized women’s safety and empowerment. Job opportunities to 500 plus women in Kochi metro were one of its kinds First time in the Country. The implementation of dedicated women-friendly initiatives, such as feeding pods and station facilities, has created a safer and more inclusive environment for female passengers, encouraging greater participation in public transportation.

d. Digital Maintenance: Embracing technological advancements, Kochi Metro has implemented digital maintenance practices. Utilizing state-of-the-art technology, the metro system ensures efficient and proactive maintenance, minimizing downtime and enhancing overall operational reliability.

e. Internet in Running Trains: Keeping pace with the digital age, Kochi Metro has introduced internet connectivity in running trains. This initiative enhances the passenger experience, allowing commuters to stay connected, work, or access entertainment during their metro journeys.

f. Water Metro Integration: Kochi Metro has expanded its reach beyond traditional rail transit by introducing the innovative Water Metro project. Integrating water transport with the metro system, this initiative connects various parts of the city through waterways, providing an alternative and environmentally friendly mode of transportation.

g. Feeder Service with E-Buses and E-Autos: Kochi Metro has addressed the last-mile connectivity challenge challenge by introducing feeder services with electric buses and autos. This sustainable and eco-friendly approach complements the metro system, making it more accessible and convenient for commuters to reach their final destinations.

Kochi Metro envisions a future marked by technological advancements, expansion, and innovative projects. Here’s a brief overview of the upcoming steps to be taken by Kochi Metro:

a. Introduction of WhatsApp Ticketing: Kochi Metro aims to enhance the convenience of ticketing by introducing WhatsApp ticketing. This initiative allows passengers to purchase and manage their metro tickets through the popular messaging platform, streamlining the ticketing process and making it more accessible to a broader audience.

b. Account-Based Ticketing (Credit & Debit Card): Kochi Metro is set to introduce account-based ticketing, enabling commuters to use their credit and debit cards for seamless travel. This cashless and contactless payment system not only enhances the passenger experience but also contributes to a more efficient and modernized public transportation network.

c. Phase II Completion in Record Time: Kochi Metro is committed to completing Phase II of its expansion plan in record time. This expansion aims to extend the metro network to new areas, providing improved connectivity and accessibility to a larger population.

The efficient execution of Phase II reflects the metro’s dedication to timely project completion and enhanced urban mobility.

d. Bringing Metro Rail to Trivandrum: Kochi Metro envisions extending its successful metro rail model to Trivandrum, the capital city of Kerala. This expansion project aims to replicate the success and benefits of the metro system, providing Trivandrum residents with a modern and efficient public transportation option.

e. Water Metro Projects at Different Places in India: Building on the success of the Water Metro project in Kochi, KMRL plans to replicate similar initiatives in different locations across India. By integrating water transport with the metro system, these projects aim to enhance connectivity, reduce traffic congestion, and provide sustainable transportation solutions in various urban and coastal regions.

In conclusion, Kochi Metro is dedicated to fostering a sustainable and efficient transportation ecosystem for the Kochi City Region. We will continue to innovate, expand, and collaborate to provide a world-class transportation experience while prioritizing environmental sustainability.

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