Why Metro can’t pull in MTC commuter

Three years ago, Chennai Metro brought with it the hope that it would shift some of the vehicular commuters off the roads to itself.

Today, with a 35-km network spanning across 26 stations, it handles just 50,000 commuters a day.

Though Chennai Metro offers fast mobility and a comfortable journey, it has failed to pull in commuters from MTC for three reasons — high fares, an incomplete network and lack of last-mile connectivity options, sources said. While Chennai Metro fares range between Rs. 10 and Rs. 70, MTC, even after a steep fare hike in January this year, charges commuters a minimum and a maximum of Rs. 5 and Rs. 48, respectively.

Commuters complain that even if they are willing to shell out more to travel by Metro, the absence of small buses and share autos from the stations makes the commute difficult. Where small buses do ply, commuters point out that the frequency needs to be improved.

Vidya Raghavan, a resident of Teynampet, said, “I travel to Nanganallur often to visit my mother. The Teynampet station is close to my residence and I walk to it; but when I get off at Nanganallur, it is nearly a 15-minute walk to my mother’s place. There are hardly any small buses plying in that area. I might as well board a bus from Teynampet and head straight, as it works out cheaper at least, though I end up spending a lot of time on the road.”

According to Chennai Metro officials, stretches like Thirumangalam to Chennai Central, Little Mount to Chennai Airport and AG-DMS to Saidapet have been identified for running small buses. “We are in talks with MTC and this will be implemented soon,” an official said. But commuters say such delays are unacceptable.

Bhagyam Saranathan, a resident of Nandanam, said, “Shouldn’t they have had discussions in advance to make sure these buses start operating as and when the service is inaugurated?”

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