Vehicle routes likely to be in suburbs; lower footboard to help senior citizens board easily

Bus connectivity in the suburbs is set to get a boost, with the State government rolling out mini buses on Wednesday morning.

The buses will be formally flagged off by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa at a function to be held at Nehru Stadium, officials said.

Though the routes for the mini buses have not been finalised as yet, most of them are likely to be in the suburbs. “The routes are being finalised and the process will be completed soon,” said a source at the Metropolitan Transport Corporation.

On Tuesday, the brand new buses were parked at the Institute of Road Transport in Taramani, as there was no space in other depots. The words ‘Small Bus’ are inscribed on the light green vehicles, and there are leaves painted on them.

“The footboard is lower in the mini buses than on the regular ones. This is to help senior citizens and children board the buses easily,” said the source.

K.P. Subramanian, former professor at Anna University’s urban engineering department said that areas that are one kilometre away from railway stations, half a kilometre away from bus stands and where roads are narrow, are ideal for mini bus services.

“The mini buses will serve their purpose if they cover areas that are not covered by MTC buses. The service should feed into other modes of public transport including trains. Tickets should be affordable and the buses should be ordinary, not classified as express or deluxe,” he said.

State transport minister, Senthil Balaji had in May 2012, announced in the Assembly that mini buses would be introduced in the city. The service was expected to begin a few months ago but a slew of problems delayed the roll out.

“There was a delay in finalising tenders due to pricing issues. Also, it took time to build the chassis of these buses as they were specially ordered,” said the source.

To be inaugurated today

The 50 mini buses that will be rolled out at 11 a.m will ply in 20 routes. Some of the areas are Pallavaram, Chromepet, Ramapuram, Porur, Madhuravoyal, Vadapalani, Ashok Pillar, Ambattur, Madhavaram and Moolakadai among other routes.

A minimum of two and maximum of four mini buses will be operated in these routes.

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