Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) Limited has taken the first step towards implementing its mini bus scheme by starting a study to identify pockets in the city and in extended areas that lack proper bus connectivity.
In May this year, State Minister for Transport Senthil Balaji announced in the assembly that 100 mini buses would be rolled out soon. The facility is meant to integrate various transport modes and also help people living in interior areas reach bus stops and railway stations easily.
“We have asked MTC officials in different depots to identify locations where there is a need for mini buses. They have been asked to suggest spots which need connectivity to bus stops as well as railway stations. Once the study is completed, the next course of action will be decided upon,” said an official.
However transport department officials claim that the government order for the mini bus is yet to come. “It is being processed and once we get the order, the Institute of Road Transport will call for tenders and procure the vehicles,” said the official.
Last year, Anna University conducted a study to identity routes where there was a dire need for mini bus services. Routes were decided based on the population density and on areas where roads were not suitable to run big buses.
Places such as Nanganallur and parts of North Chennai that do not have proper connectivity with bus stands or railway stations were suggested as probable locations. But the government wanted the Transport Department to conduct its own study.
Commuters feel that the mini buses should connect suburban areas to near-by junctions and operate in places where MTC bus services are minimal. According to some residents, areas like Brindavan Nagar in Adambakkam should be connected to Keelkattalai, Vijayanagar bus terminus and Nanganallur. Mini buses should also connect localities to the MRTS and suburban railway stations, residents said. M. Kasi Raju, a resident of Narayanapuram in Pallikaranai said that as of now, commuters boarded private jeeps to reach interior areas. “During the monsoons it is very difficult to reach the bus stand,” he said.
K.P. Subramanian, former professor at Anna University's Urban Engineering department said that areas that are one kilometre away from the railway stations, half a kilometre from bus stands and where roads are narrow, were ideal for mini bus services.