The proposal to operate mini-buses in the city seems to have survived the regime change.

After numerous delays, nearly 100 routes have been identified as ideal for mini-bus operation.

The Transport Department recently asked Anna University to prepare a report on its feasibility. The report is likely to be submitted to the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) in a week.

The proposal was announced by the then DMK government in the State Assembly in April 2010. The buses were to start plying in three months and connect residential neighbourhoods with the nearest bus terminus or railway station. However, the proposal has seen repeated delays.

According to MTC's preliminary study which was done last year, suburban areas such as Red Hills, Tiruvottiyur, Kelambakkam and Tambaram are localities that urgently require feeder mini-bus services.

A senior Anna University professor said that the route identification study essentially mapped the coverage of the existing MTC bus routes in the city on top of a population density layer. Any area with a sufficiently high number of residents and without a bus stop within half a kilometre definitely needs a feeder service, he said.

“There are many such uncovered areas even within the city,” he added.

A senior MTC official said that once the report was submitted, financial details would be worked out and mini-buses with a capacity of about 40 passengers procured.

Presently, 4,000 private mini-buses operate in several districts in Tamil Nadu. Private companies cannot operate mini-buses in Chennai because the MTC alone has the area permit to operate the services.

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