MTC cuts back on small bus service after losing market share to autos

With demand flagging, the corporation finds it is not profitable to operate the fleet

Updated - September 13, 2021 10:21 am IST

Published - February 02, 2019 01:23 am IST - CHENNAI

For a short while, immediately after their introduction, small buses were all the rage in suburban areas. No longer. Share autos have once again become the go-to choice for those looking for last-mile connectivity. The Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) is now slowly reducing the number of small buses on the roads. In some areas, there are no longer any.

MTC initially had a fleet of 100 small buses, which it increased to 200, based on demand from interior areas in the city. Several localities like Pallikaranai, Nanganallur, West Velachery, Chromepet, Guduvanchery, West Mambalam, parts of Saidapet, Mogappair, Moolakadai, Retteri and MKB Nagar benefitted from the introduction of small buses.

Multiple reasons

But now commuters are picking share autos and other modes of transport over MTC’s small buses.

A combination of reasons has led to this state of affairs — the increase in the number of share autos, an inadequate number of small buses, uneconomical routes, hike in wages of drivers and conductors and, to some extent, Chennai Metro beginning to operate its own share autos. A senior MTC official said that, on average, 180 small buses are being operated daily. The main reason for the administration losing interest in operating small buses is that they are no longer financially viable.

M. Raghavan, a resident of Nanganallur, pointed out that the frequency of S85 (Alandur Metro to Velachery) and S11 (Alandur Metro to Moovarasanpet) had been reduced.

The MTC has stopped operating some small bus services like S12, S13, S93 and S93.

Residents in the interior parts of Avadi like Thandurai, Pattabhiram and Maduravoyal point out that but for small buses the residents would have to shell out a lot for transportation. Small buses between Avadi-Poonamallee, Avadi-Thiruninravur, Avadi-Pattabhiram and Avadi-Mittanamalee have, in fact, been recording decent collections.

MTC officials have different plans for the new 100 small buses which were planned earlier to be added to the fleet, they added.

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