Kochi: The Kochi Metro's new stretch from Maharaja's College junction to Thykoodam was inaugurated on Tuesday.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated services in the new stretch at a function presided over by Union Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri.
Dignitaries including Vijayan, Puri, Metro man E Sreedharan, Ernakulam MP Hibi Eden, Kochi Mayor Soumini Jain, MLAs M Swaraj and P T Thomas travelled on the first Metro service from Maharaja's College junction to reach Kadavanthra station to attend the inaugural function at Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium.
Earlier, the Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety had granted sanction for the Metro's new stretch.
The new stretch has a total of five stations — Ernakulam South, Kadavanthra, Elamkulam, Vyttila and Thykoodam.
The newly-inaugurated five-kilometre stretch, which extends from Maharaja's Junction to Thykoodam bridge, takes the total distance covered by the Kochi Metro so far to around 24 kms. Its remaining one kilometre stretch, in the first phase, is expected to be complete by January next year.
Once the remaining stretch is opened, the Kochi Metro will cover a distance of 25-kms from Palarivattom to Aluva reducing travel time by at least an hour or two.
Work on the Kochi Metro began in 2012 and being overseen by E. Sreedharan, who also helmed the Delhi Metro project.