Tamil Nadu

Chennai’s transport hubs come under Metro coverage

Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, third from left, Ambassador of Japan to India Kenji Hiramatsu, right, and senior Ministers at the Egmore Metro station on Friday.

Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, third from left, Ambassador of Japan to India Kenji Hiramatsu, right, and senior Ministers at the Egmore Metro station on Friday.   | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam

The Chennai Metro Rail service connecting four major transport hubs in the city — Central, Egmore, the CMBT and the airport — was launched on Friday.

At the launch function, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami said the government planned to extend the Metro Rail from the airport to the proposed express bus terminus in Vandalur (through the southern suburbs) and tweak the alignment in the next phase to take the Metro to Poonamalee on the city’s western outskirts via Porur.

Along with Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri, Mr. Palaniswami inaugurated the two underground stretches — from Nehru Park to Central (a distance of 2.7 km) and from Saidapet to AG-DMS (a distance of 4 km). Till Saturday, commuters can travel free on these two stretches. After that, commuters have to pay fares ranging from ₹10 to ₹70.

Every five minutes, there will be a train from Central to the airport and St. Thomas Mount, officials said. While the first train will depart from Central and AG-DMS at 6 a.m., the last service will be at 10 p.m.

Expansion plans

The Chief Minister announced that a feasibility study would be taken up to explore the possibility of extending the Metro from the Chennai airport all the way to the proposed Kilambakkam Bus Terminus in Vandalur.

“The study will be carried out by the Housing and Urban Development Department and, depending on the outcome of the study, we will know how these two corridors can be linked by the Chennai Metro Rail,” a senior official said.

The government has been taking efforts to secure a loan from the Asian Development Bank for the 17.2 km Metro stretch connecting Koyambedu terminus and Light House in the Phase II. “There is a plan to realign corridor four, where the Metro will link Poonamallee through Vadapalani and Porur. A DPR is being prepared,” the Chief Minister said, asking the Central government to give permission and funds for Phase II.

The entire Phase I project (linking Central with AG-DMS stations) covering 45 km will be completely operational by the year-end, the Chief Minister said.

So far, nearly 28 km of the Metro Rail was operational in the city and with the opening of the two new stretches, the network goes up to nearly 35 km. The Phase I expansion from Chennai Central to Washermanpet will be operational by mid-2020, Mr. Palaniswami said.

Ever since the first service of the Metro was launched in June 2015, about 1.64 crore people have travelled on it.

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Printable version | Aug 8, 2020 1:24:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/citys-transport-hubs-come-under-metro-coverage/article23994862.ece

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