Buses will be used to augment services along existing routes, says MTC official
Nearly 200 new buses are set to be inducted into various State Transport Undertakings this week, including 36 deluxe buses in the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC).
A senior MTC official said that the induction was overdue for some time. The buses would be used to augment services along existing routes. He added that a government order to introduce a total of 3,000 new buses in the seven STUs in the current financial year would be issued soon. Estimated to cost Rs.125 crore, the fleet augmentation programme is expected to reserve the maximum number of buses for MTC, the official said.
He said that the average age of MTC's current operational fleet is only around 3.5 years and no buses are expected to be phased out this year.
However, a number of aging buses have been withdrawn or condemned over the years. But fleet augmentation has been undertaken only in fits and starts, officials say. The fleet size has essentially remained the same for a decade, though the passenger volume catered to by the MTC has nearly doubled, from around 30 lakh daily passengers in 2001 to 56 lakh passengers now.
The Chennai Traffic and Transportation Study, which recommends a broad public transit strategy for the city till 2026, emphasises the need to augment bus services first before reserving any corridor for higher order solutions such as Metro or light rail. Being the cheapest available public transport option, both in terms of initial and operational expenditure, the city requires at least 8,000 buses by 2026, the study observes.