Somewhere in Kochi....

The city is set to welcome Kochi Metro to its commercial hub, the MG Road, today. The services will be thrown open for public within an hour after inauguration.

Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan will arrive at JLN Stadium station at 10.30 am along with Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri for flagging off the Metro train up to Maharaja's College. They will then take a Metro ride from JLN Stadium Station to Maharaja's College Station along with the mayor, MPs and MLAs. They will return to Kaloor station and from where they would proceed to Ernakulam Town Hall for the public function, marking the launch of Metro services.

Opening of five new stations -JNL Stadium, Kaloor, Lissie, MG Road and Maharaja's College Ground -along a five-km stretch will provide better connectivity with other major locations in the city including, Ernakulam Town (North) railway station, Ernakulam Junction (South) railway station, KSRTC bus depot and Ernakulam boat jetty .

The Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) has roped in reputed artists from Kochi to make caricatures of those who take the first ride.

Earlier in June, KMRL had opened the 13.4 km first stretch of Kochi Metro from Aluva to Palarivattom. There are 11 stations along this stretch. The opening of the new stretch linking Palarivattom and Maharaja's will help connect the city to urban centres.

KMRL will operate nine trains between Aluva and Maharaja's College Ground. The Metro agency said a set of two trains will be kept as back up. Trains will operate between 6 am and 10 pm. Extension of services will be useful to those who go for late-night movies or those who opt to dine out.

According to KMRL, the Metro will bring down travel time in the city. People will not have to spend long hours at traffic signals and waste time on congested roads.

The Metro's fare from Aluva to Maharaja's College Ground is fixed at Rs.50. The Kochi1 card will be made available at all Metro stations within one week of inauguration. KMRL spokesperson said that they expected joy riders in the initial phase, and will decide on weekly and monthly fares once regular commuters start utilizing the service.

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