It might not be a quick hop from a bike or car to the train at all stations, for commuters of Chennai metro rail. Officials of Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) said that they have planned to provide a parking facility in only five of the 19 underground stations and nine of the 13 elevated stations.
On the 24-km underground network, parking facilities will be provided at Central, Saidapet, Nandanam, Washermenpet and Anna Nagar East stations. Similarly, on the elevated stretch that runs over a 21-km stretch, parking spaces are planned in Koyambedu, CMBT, Vadapalani, Alandur, Ashok Nagar, Guindy, SIDCO, Arumbakkam and Chennai airport.
“This is the plan for now. We are not sure if there may be parking facilities in the other stations. The lack of space is the main challenge. We have provided such space wherever we have been able to identify it,” said an official.
Also, commuters will not be able to park their vehicles inside the premises as most of these spaces will be located in the vicinity, the official added. Officials are holding talks with architects to decide on the space allocation and capacity of the parking lots.
CMRL’s plan has drawn a mixed response.
According to K.R. Thooyavan, former chief urban planner at Chennai Metropolitan Development Area, the perks of using the Metro would be greatly reduced if the stations were not equipped with parking facility.
“I’m not sure how many people would be interested in using the metro rail if most stations don’t have the facility. They must have multi-level parking; if that’s not possible, they must identify some other option,” he added.
Others like Raj Cherubal, director of Chennai City Connect, said it might be sufficient to provide feeder services where there is difficulty in creating parking spaces.
“I don’t think all stations in metro services across the globe have parking lots. They may have feeder services every ten minutes to the metro stations,” he said.
But urban planner K. P. Subramanian said that, with a distance of nearly one km between the catchment areas, it is only ideal that the metro rail should have an intermodal transfer facility.
“Space should not dictate whether a station must have parking or not; a study should determine which stations need parking. Land acquisition should have been made accordingly,” he said.
An official of the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) said that at a meeting some months ago, CMRL officials had indicated the need for feeder services that would drop commuters at the nearest Metro station. “The routes however have not been finalised,” he added.