Seven years on, Chennai Metro Rail covers more of the city

On 29 June 2015, the first Chennai Metro Rail train chugged off from Koyambedu to Alandur, for a mere 10 km stretch. Today, seven years later, the trains run for lakhs of km and carry over 11.7 crore passengers.

While the phase I and phase I extension network of this mass rapid transit system is rather too limited, covering only 54 km of the city, it did benefit people who had to take a train, bus or a flight out of town, as Metro Rail connects all important transport hubs in the city.

From recording just an average of 10,000 passengers a day, Chennai Metro Rail now serves over 1.7 lakh passengers every day. Comfort aside, one of the most important reasons for this is the system has been quite reliable, except for some instances of failures due to technical glitches. Since 2015, the punctuality of the Metro Rail system has been commendable, consistently recording over 98%.

In 2015, for the period between June and December, the trains had a punctuality of 98.5%. With years, it has only gone up further, with 2021-22 recording the highest punctuality rate of 99.88 %. This year, till 23 June, punctuality rate stands at 99.80%.

According to officials of Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL), they have been aiming to achieve 99.9%. “It’s extremely difficult to run services without a single technical glitch. But whenever there is one, we try to set it right as soon as possible so that passengers are not affected. This is important because a large share of our passengers are always going to catch a train or flight and cannot afford to be late. So, if people have to rely on our system, we have to ensure that the trains are always on time and they will know they can reach their destination in time,” an official said.

Passengers say that while it’s definitely convenient, the system still has quite a lot of shortcomings that need to be ironed out if it has to progress well in future.

S.M. Govindaraj, a resident of Chromepet who travels to Government Estate through Chennai Metro, says, “The reliability and comfort are some of the primary reasons I take this system. Unlike buses, here, I know for sure that I will reach my destination on time.”

But reduction of fares and parking charges, adding more facilities for passengers such as escalators in all stations, better crowd management, signages are needed to improve the system, he adds.

Experts say the system can borrow some of the best practices from other systems in the world. K.P. Subramanian, an urban planning expert, says, “Singapore has a well-integrated transport system; in London, there is transit-oriented development like having retail outlets in most stations. They can look at Seoul to see how punctual the trains are,” he adds.

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Printable version | Jul 27, 2022 8:40:06 pm |