Chennai@2019: The year in retrospect

Chennai Metro@2019: Ridership goes up, but last-mile connectivity needs improvement

Ridership is gradually increasing on the Chennai Metro Rail, say officials

Ridership is gradually increasing on the Chennai Metro Rail, say officials   | Photo Credit: V. Ganesan

Chennai Metro now spans 45 km in the the city and sees a daily ridership of 1.15 lakh commuters

Chennai Metro Rail had a rather good year in 2019, with the entire phase I project, which spans 45 km of the city, finally coming to an end, after eight years of relentless construction. In February this year, when the 10 km stretch from AG-DMS to Washermanpet came to an end and was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, most commuters heaved a sigh of relief, primarily because they wanted the original road space and traffic diversions to be restored at the earliest.

The immediate response to the opening of a new stretch was quite underwhelming compared to expectations, and there were only about 70,000-75,000 people travelling initially. But with gradual progress and with various measures taken such as improving frequency and last-mile connectivity, the average has touched about 1.15 lakh now. A majority of commuters use the new stretch to to reach one of the four transport hubs — Chennai Central, Chennai Egmore, CMBT and Chennai airport — or to get to their work place. While this average is still considered low for public transport, the number of people travelling has been gradually increasing, indicating that more may opt to use this system regularly with time.

Also, it is to be noted that the opening of the final stretch saw the initiation of the much-needed connectivity to north Chennai, giving commuters an alternative option to MTC buses or other modes of transport.

According to officials of Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL), Washermanpet and High Court stations have been used quite well, and nearly 3,500 people travel on a daily basis. “We know that our fares are higher compared to other systems but despite that, the number of people travelling through Washermanpet and High Court station have been steadily increasing over the months because it is quite comfortable and faster to take the Metro. We have found most commuters from Washermanpet travel to Anna Salai for work, as there are direct trains available. This apart, of course, there are many travelling to CMBT or Chennai Central to leave town,” an official said.

Though the number of people travelling may be growing, if Chennai Metro wants to sustain and grow significantly, it certainly needs to improve the last-mile connectivity option like share cars and run them better, say commuters.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 10:05:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/ridership-goes-up-but-last-mile-connectivity-needs-improvement/article30387437.ece

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