Monday, October 31, 2011

Mobility hub row unwanted: CPPR

Mobility hub row unwanted: CPPR

KOCHI: Even as debate continues on the role of Vyttila Mobility Hub Society and the KSRTC in deciding the transport routes and operations in Kochi, the Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR) has come forward with the statement that the whole row may be unnecessary.

“While submitting the report, the CPPR had clearly stated the vision for having a mobility hub in a city like Kochi. If questions are raised about the role of KSRTC in deciding the city operations, it is because the concept and vision of the mobility hub at Vyttila is not understood,” the organisation said in a press statement.

The Mobility Hub Society, according to the CPPR, shall be in charge of the entire transport operations in the city. Meanwhile, at the Mobility Hub Society meetings and discussions, all stake holders, including the KSRTC, private bus owners and associations, autorickshaw unions and inland water navigation operators shall be represented.

Government functionaries like Southern Railway, Metro Rail, RTOs, traffic police and district transport officers shall be represented but the power to decide the operations and city routes shall be vested with the Mobility Hub Society.

The society will also have the power to decide upon the modifications in transport routes owing to emergencies, festivals or other local requirements.

“This arrangement will help them to sit around a table and discuss the transportation requirements.

“One does not have to rush to Thiruvananthapuram to address the traffic needs of the city. That way, the city will have a comprehensive transport plan and thus increase connectivity to the remote and ignored areas.

The KSRTC, on the other hand, will continue to decide its inter-city operations.

“The hub will decide on owning intra-city buses whereas the KSRTC can continue to decide on the inter-city operations,” the statement said.

The Mobility Hub Society will work in tandem with the Kochi Corporation and can facilitate the city planning and influence land use pattern.

The Mobility Hub Society can help the city development plans by providing consultancy and services in terms of bridging the gaps in connectivity. Same shall be the case with the inland water navigation priorities. The society can develop the inland water navigation routes and entrust the operators with the task of easing out the traffic congestion on the city roads.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cycle Diaries

Usual day, usual routine, usual food, usual dialogues to mom, usual paper reading, usual mannerisms.... unusual thoughts!!!

The sun has risen, but shrouded by the meandering clouds..perfect day for doing an unusual thing to happen...few things came to my mind..why not walk? why not cycle? cycle!!! reminds me of the days i used to 'not use' cycle having a wildcat kept at my home...of the day when i slammed to a waste bin devoid of breaks, of the day we celebrated cycling with 500 odd participants in the Reinventing Cochin Cycle Rally.... this was enough to spur me to take an unusual route !!

I didnt have second thoughts to ask my neighbour to lend me their cycle!! for i dont know anyone who rode cycle in this motor cycle days!! BSA SLR was ready to take me..i chose to ride to my office located 10 km from my house which had the National Highway (NH 47) converging at the busiest junction of my state (vytilla, Kerala). This thought was enough for a person to retract from the endeavour. Inspite of father's 'its high traffic and dangerous' talk, I had made up my mind to take the unusual route!!

The Journey

Without much fuss i pedalled my way through the route, which I and many others usually sped in motorcyles and cars. My first uphill task was to cover the first stretch consisting of small hill and a potholed road. I had to meander the curves and junction points without losing 'my mind and balance'. I looked for companions, only to find one student of the adjacent school (Vennala High School) staring with his geared cycle... i am facing competition!! i swiftly overtook him, only to find that he took another route!! Missing a chance to satisfy my ego of touching the finishing line first, I continued my journey...

By that time I had overtaken a 'Driving School' learner, learning the basics of controlling a machine!! Pondered over a moment as to the time and money spend in learning an art operated by a motor!! Recalling P.T Usha, our Payolli Express, who had opined that motorsports in no sports, when compared to the physical limits experienced when she missed the bronze and the glory!! Aint I smarter than the Driving School? aint the inventor smarter than the invented!!

I threaded a different route to meet a BMW (KL-7 AL 5555) who jealously pushed me to the sidelines... i wanted to take revenge!! so did I.... the humps, the narrow road and the busy junction conspired to help me to win the Cycle vs the Car unofficial race... enough reasons to smile and push me to complete the latter stretch, which had hundreds of such competitors.

Reaching the National Highway touted to be the lifeline our the country (as aptly put my dearest Vajpayee that Highways resembled the lines of his palms), I took the service road. The heat was on and I had a discomfort feeling setting in. The newly introduced JnNURM buses looked at me with sympathy!! Didnt they know that cycle is much cheaper, more friendly and better saver compared to their high investment vehicle..

Interestingly I was taking a route which had the Maruti Suzuki,Hyundai, to the Prosche and the Jaguars!! I encountered a board displayed before the latest Maruti Suzuki Swift Diesel calling for 'Switch to Maruthi, save on fuel' ..what a dichotomy for a cyclist? The issues at Maruti's plant at Gurgaon have been making daily headlines...lost in the midst would be the number of people (above 15 years olds) who had bought cycles in the last 5 years!! Will I hit the headlines for venturing to ride a cycle amidst a sea of cars, at a time when growth of the economy is depended on the automobile population, when driving schools and showrooms have thrived!!

I wondered whether man is a better form of ape or is it vice versa, when I rested in front of the Porsche !! My apprehensions were laid to rest when I saw a natural modified Hyundai vehicle.. prayers for the souls who drove it... lot of time to think while riding a cycle!!! I advice not to think too much while riding a car, or else you stand a chance of following the souls who had driven the car...

I was relieved to see an cyclist carrying eggs, opting to take the hatchery safe in his 'life' cycle. I had to help him out in the railway gate which was shut for repairs. I was encountering another human intervention which had changes lives..the chuk chuk express...

I was feeling the heat.. , but the enjoyment of riding a cycle has relived me of the pain. I reached my destination and opened by smart phone to assess the speed and time of my cycle travel. It showed that I reached in 29.52 minutes stopping for 2.31 minutes moving at an average of 18 mph touching 20 mph!! Not bad for an amateur biker!!! I replenished my soul with water and living to tell the tale of cycling in a motor world!!

Few things I learned :

1) Take enough water, or you will feel melted in the heat
2) Try not to overtake, maintain the royalty and chime on the shroudness of others
3) Start early morning before the sun sets in and return before the sun sets!!
4) Cycling helps to improve fitness, stay healthy and understand human emotions (when you are dead tired with a punctured tyre on a highway with no shops)
5) Have short breaks while pedalling, make sure your ego does not overcome you..or else you break your back

Waiting to repeat the exercise!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


By D Dhanuraj

Today, most of the media reports discuss the lack of cooperation from KSRTC to extend their services to Vyttila Mobility Hub in the late evening. it seems both the parties have strong points to justify the cause. KSRTC believes that the KSRTC bus stand might lose its value if they shift their operations to Mobility Hub. I do not understand why KSRTC should own such a vast land in the midst of the city. whenever I travel across Kerala, i realize that KSRTC owns acres of land at the prime locations and no one knows how effectively they utilize the land. I am not surprised since all the transport companies of the State has this perennial problem whether it is Air India or Indian Railways or KSRTC. in contrary, no one discusses about what is going to happen with Kaloor bus stand. it shows how much we are dented in state property that is not effectively utilized or traded.

another argument is that west Kochi goers will be affected by this shift. I am so happy that at last some one is discussing the issues of west Kochi commuters. not even 5000 crores metro rail project is silent about the west Kochi goers and their plights. so what need to be done?

I would strongly recommend for a consortium managed by mobility hub society to take care of the transport needs of Kochi city. All the Intra-bus operations shall be under the management and monitoring of Vyttila mobility hub society. The Society shall identify the corridors and circular routes and should invite operators to bid for these routes. Inter city operations can be managed by KSRTC and other operators as of now. Vyttila mobility hub society shall work with Kochi corporation as a nodal agency to fix the transport issues in the city. integration of various transport authorities to issue permits and routes for intra - bus operations within the city shall be under the strict monitoring and evaluation of mobility hub society. I believe the mobility hub society should bring traffic experts and urban planners on the board to manage the intra city operations. It shall not be left to someone in Trivandrum to decide on the intra city operations of Kochi city. let it be a smart beginning for Mobility hub society...