Airport–city AC services were launched a decade ago. They were suspended and resumed at frequent intervals

The Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) has suspended its airconditioned 16-seater bus service from the airport to Koyambedu, citing poor patronage.

Instead, the service is now being operated from Tambaram to Koyambedu and further towards Red Hills.

The reason being cited for poor patronage is the steep fare — Rs. 110 for a trip from the airport to Koyambedu.

The crew was operating largely empty buses, most of the time. Four AC buses were operated on the route, each making at least four shuttle services a day.

An MTC official told The Hindu poor patronage had forced them to wind up the four services. Now, they are operating them from Tambaram — two each to Red Hills (route 114) and Koyambedu (route 70). The fare structure is similar to ones in regular AC volvo coaches. A ticket to Koyambedu from Tambaram costs Rs. 45. A section of the crew said the 16-seater buses are ideal for shuttling between the airport and train or road hubs, but the high fares discourage commuters.

However, since Saturday last, when the new service was introduced, the daily collections per trip netted by these buses have increased, as compared to the earnings during the service from airport to Koyambedu. The blue buses make 16 trips, to both Koyambedu and Red Hills.

Passengers said, unlike the regular AC Volvo coaches, the blue buses are much steeper to climb. Also, since the bus cannot carry more than 16 seated passengers, travel by standing is not comfortable, for longer distances, said N. Bhaskaran, a commuter.

Airport–city AC services were launched a decade ago. The bus services were suspended and resumed at frequent intervals — in 2007, 2008 and again in 2011.

Passengers arriving at the airport now have no option other than to walk up to GST Road to reach various parts of the city, said an MTC staffer.

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