Kochi Metro to tie up with online taxis to enhance connectivity

In an attempt to qualm concerns regarding the Metro station’s connectivity, Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) intends to issue a tender in order to work along with online taxi service companies to enhance last mile connectivity to and from Metro stations.

The tender is set to come out within a few weeks and it will invite proposals from online taxi service companies operating in the city, said a KMRL official. “We are looking for online taxi companies similar to Ola and Uber. We plan on integrating their online taxi service as a feature on the mobile application,” said the KMRL official.

Apart from the planned integration with online taxi services, the KMRL mobile application will have a collection of other features, which will include a journey planner, e-wallet and tourist information.

Several people living in Kochi have raised concerns regarding last mile connectivity. KMRL is currently holding talks with KSRTC to mobilize a fleet of 50 -60 buses serving as feeders services. They expect the memorandum of understanding to be prepared within two weeks.

“We are also planning to enhance last mile connectivity by associating with private bus operators,” said a KMRL official. She suggests that they are currently working on setting up an umbrella unit for private bus operators so that Kochi Metro can establish hassle free communication.

“Those parts of the city which are not accessible via bus are the places where these cabs can come in handy,” she added.
Through the tender, KMRL is looking for online taxi services that can provide last mile connectivity to their commuters at reduced fares.

A similar partnership between public sector transportation and private mass transportation sectors has been established earlier this year between an online taxi service provider and Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL), where kiosk will be set up at certain Metro stations allowing people book cabs at the station.
KMRL officials suggest that apart from the reduced rates, the additional facilities offered by the online taxi service company would depend on the proposals put forward by online taxi companies.

“KMRL’s operations would not affect the online taxi market negatively,” said an industry insider, who suggested that public and private transport sector would both benefit if people could depend on mass transportation systems and that both parties stand to benefit in working together.
Last mile connectivity has become a key area of service for online taxi companies. A company recently started providing taxi services from Cial to neighbouring districts to enhance connectivity from the airport.