Bus route connectivity in interior parts of the city is set to get a boost with mini buses ready to roll out in the coming weeks.
Around 40 buses are ready and will be commissioned once Chief Minister Jayalalithaa gives the go ahead. The mini buses will ply on 100 routes. “We have decided on 40 routes for now. More routes will be added in the next phase,” said a transport department official. The buses will be green in colour.
In May 2012, State transport minister, Senthil Balaji, had announced in the Assembly that mini buses would be introduced in the city. The service is expected to integrate various modes of transport and also help residents in the interior parts access bigger bus stops and railway stations with ease.
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 the tenders due to pricing issues. It takes some time to build the chassis of the bus as it is specially ordered,” said the official.
Residents in many parts of the city have welcomed the move. However, the service must be introduced in suburban localities, they said, to serve the public better.
“People are gradually moving out of the city due to congestion. In the suburbs, mini buses can help provide connectivity to the city. This way, more people will opt for housing in suburban localities,” said K. Varun, a resident of Medavakkam.
Mini buses have become an urgent necessity as many areas within the city are completely cut off from proper public transport options. “Parts of Choolaimedu, Velachery, Nanganallur, Maduravoyal and Ambattur need mini bus facility. The residents in these areas have to either walk or rely on expensive autorickshaws for commute,” said a transport union member.