Finding response to earlier online survey inadequate, the Corporation plans to conduct a live survey in proposed spots

The Chennai Corporation had last year announced it was studying the feasibility of a ‘shared cycling’ system for the city.

It had said 3,000 modern bicycles would be stationed in 200 docks based on the results of a survey, which was conducted this May.

But now it looks like the civic agency has found the online survey, conducted through its website, inadequate. The survey elicited response from just 150 of its online users. Owing to the poor response, the Chennai Corporation is unable to firm up key aspects pertaining to the project.

“We want as many users as possible. Most of the 150 respondents said they will use the cycle sharing system, if provided across the city. But the costing should be based on the complete assessment of the users in the city. We are planning to conduct a live survey,” an official said.

In the live survey, a group of personnel will visit each of the spots proposed to be developed into a cycle-sharing docking station to record responses from commuters.

The live survey is likely to consume more time. “Most of the 150 respondents who participated in the online survey were worried about the lack of dedicated infrastructure for cyclists. Safety is the main concern,” the official added.

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How many of us wouldn’t mind talking a long walk to a Metro Rail station?

A lot of us presume there would be sufficient parking space to drive up to the Metro Rail station and take a ride. Apparently, that may not be the case.

Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) plans to have parking space in five of 19 underground stations and nine of 13 elevated stations. Lack of land availability is one of the major reasons for not providing the parking facility in all stations, officials say.

K. P. Subramanian, an urban planner, says, “Mass rapid transit like Metro Rail is a park-and-ride facility. If they don’t offer parking space, there may not be patronage.”

Though Metro Rail may introduce feeder services to areas neighbouring the stations, it is not clear how the frequency would be, he adds.

“We can’t compare our stations with those abroad. The concept is entirely different there. There is high density development, every station is built as a hub and so people can walk unlike here,” Mr. Subramaniam says.

But there are others who think this idea would be inefficient. “It would be cheaper and convenient to provide feeder services than offer parking facility. For instance, in about 20,000 passengers who might travel on a daily basis, even if you provide parking for about 500 vehicles, there would be a largerequirement of additional built-up space,” says Shreya Gadepalli of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.

The question is, when Metro Rail services begin this October, will we have such a competent feeder service in place?

(Reporting by Aloysius Xavier Lopez and Sunitha Sekar)

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