For increasing patronage, Chennai Metro Rail Ltd. (CMRL) plans to add first-mile and last-mile connectivity services to educational institutions and Information Technology (IT) companies.
Under the proposal, commuters can take minibuses or buses plying from the stations to nearby locations for pick up and drop off.
“Thousands of students and IT professionals travel in the Metro Rail. We want to improve that number and help more people shift to our system. This can happen only if we provide first-mile and last-mile connectivity. We plan to operate buses from educational institutions, IT companies soon and are in talks with them,” an official said.
While there are minibuses run by the Metropolitan Transport Corporation Chennai, operational in stations, including the Government Estate, Guindy, Little Mount, Shenoy Nagar, Alandur, Tiruvottiyur, Koyambedu and Chennai Airport, there is a need for last-mile connectivity in all stations, the commuters said.
Officials said after introducing minibuses, the number of passengers travelling by Chennai Metro has risen considerably. At present, on weekdays, 2.15 lakh to 2.20 lakh people take the Metro. “Apart from minibuses, there are rental bicycles too in stations that commuters can use. We are in talks with a few other firms for having a few last-mile connectivity options in more stations across the network,” the official said.
Ram S., a commuter who regularly travels by Metro Rail from St. Thomas Mount, said that all the 41 stations in Phase I and Phase I extension project should have a uniform first- and last-mile connectivity options.
“Some years ago, Metro Rail had hired a firm for operating share cars in several stations at affordable rates. They should bring it back as it was convenient for passengers. If there are different systems in different stations, many passengers may not know the options available,” he said.