Amidst interventions, Chennai Metro ridership drops

Representational Image (Photo Credit- Chennai Metro Rail Limited)

The Chennai Metro has witnessed a drop in the average number of commuters, from about 90,000 to nearly 85,000 passengers. This is mainly because many stations in the newly-opened stretch from Washermanpet to AG- DMS do not have any feeder services like mini bus, share auto or share car services.

Initially, MTC buses were operated at some stations, however now only Koyambedu, Vadapalani, Ashok Nagar and Alandur stations have this facility. Last August, the Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) operated share auto and share car facilities but none of these are available at the newly opened stretch.

A total of 47, 628 people utilised the feeder services in two months since its inauguration, last year. These services are operated during the service hours of the metro, which begins at 6 a.m. and ends at 10 p.m. The passengers who wish to avail the feeder services which operate at a frequency of every 15 minutes, will have to purchase a token from the metro stations.

Of the 32 stations that are opened and functioning, only 13 of them have the feeder services. Also, in most stations the feeder services are not used by people as they do not offer long distance services. Passengers complaint that the feeder services do not operate on different stages which forces them to switch between different modes of transport.

(Photo Credit- The Hindu)

The CMRL has partnered with Fort Corporate Shuttle Feeder Services, which will cater to employees of business parks and corporate hubs in the city. Later, the service will be extended to Anna Nagar East and DMS stations.

However, the CMRL has undertaken various other measures to increase ridership like introducing monthly passes. Passengers will have top pay Rs 2,500 with an additional fee of Rs 50 to purchase the card which will allow them to enjoy multiple rides in a day. While smart cards were introduced to avoid waiting in queues, the newly introduced tourist card is especially for office-goers and tourists with no caps on the number of rides per day. A trip card was also introduced by the CMRL which allows passengers to set a specific number of trips within a number of days between two stations. This move which comes a month after the inauguration of the new stretch between Washermanpet to AG- DMS is aimed at increasing the footfall across all the 32 stations.

Apart from this the CMRL also tested their smart cards with MTC electronic ticket machines to make it easy for passengers to shift between different modes of transport. The same card can also be used to avail CMRL feeder services and at station parking lots. This move received good responses from commuters who can now travel multiple times at a much cheaper rate.

Also, the Greater Chennai Corporation in a public-private partnership with SmartBikes launched a cycle-sharing system across different locations in the city. Though it does not apply to all metro stations in the city, the move has helped commuters who use metro services from Thirumamgalam and Shenoy Nagar metro stations. The initial registration for the cycles which can be unlocked through an mobile application is priced at Re 1 for a month. After that every hour will cost Rs 5.

 

Compiled by N Sindhu

(With inputs from The Hindu, The New Indian Express, The Times of India and DT Next)