Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) recorded 62.71 lakh passengers in the month of November.
This is almost 150 percent more than the usage recorded in January when 25 lakh commuters rode the metro daily.
On November 7 alone, CMRL recorded a passenger flow of 2.47 lakh, the highest in a day.
Between January and November, 5.43 million passengers traveled on the Chennai Metro.
According to reports Economic Timesin November, 18.22 lakh passengers used the QR code service, while 40.23 lakh passengers used the travel card. Due to the 20% discount, the use of these facilities increased.
Reasons for the increase in the number of passengers
Due to the city’s extensive commuter rail network and the extremely cost-effective services offered by the state’s rickety fleet of buses, the metro network has faced the challenge of lukewarm reception for daily services.
However, the steady improvement in footfall over the past few months has come as a relief to the city’s urban transport authority, which has been facing questions over plans to expand metro services.
The establishment of missing links in the last mile link has helped the Chennai Metro to increase ridership.
As of May 2020, Chennai Metro was running trains to 32 stations across the city, including all major transport hubs. There were few passengers, only about 75,000 people.
Two months later, this quickly increased to nearly one lakh, representing a 33% increase in the number of passengers traveling by metro.
This increase is also attributed to improvements in last mile connectivity options at 21 stations. Feeder services include Rapido bike taxis, Uber Autos, vans, taxi companies that have formed partnerships with employee mobility companies.
According to Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) authorities, passenger traffic has gradually increased in recent months as CMRL and Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) started operating minibuses to transport daily commuters to and from metro stations and adjoining areas.
Minibuses are available at Shenoy Nagar, Tiruvottiyur, Koyambedu, Government Estate, Alandur, Little Mount, Guindy and Chennai Airports.
“Also, we have started running some shared auto rickshaws from several residential colonies in select places like Koyambedu and hope to expand the service further,” a CMRL official stated.
“We started to identify areas with high demand. We are also planning to take steps to establish connectivity services between schools, colleges and IT companies and stations,” the official added.
In addition, the recent rescheduling of frequency by CMRL to suit peak traffic has helped increase the ridership of Chennai Metro.
As more office goers take the Washermenpet-Alandur metro line connecting Thousand Lights, AG-DMS, Nandanam, Guindy and LIC, CMRL has decided to run a train between Washermenpet and Alandur every three minutes.
CMRL has increased the frequency of trains on both corridors – Wimco Nagar to Airport and Puratchi Thalaivar Dr MG Ramachandran Chennai Central to St Thomas Mount – to meet the needs of office goers.
“Offices can be seen all along Anna Salai. Many office workers commute to the stations between Washermenpet and Alandur and the demand is very high as we saw when we looked at the passenger traffic data. So we have decided to run a train on this length every three minutes,” said a CMRL official.
In addition, several new office spaces have opened in the Anna Salai Central Business District (CBD) region in the past year, which has also resulted in increased use of the metro.
CMRL is a joint venture between the Government of India (GoI) and the Government of Tamil Nadu (GoTN) to build the metro network in Chennai with the help of a loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The Phase I network currently covers a total length of 54.1 km and consists of two corridors (i.e. Corridor 1 from Wimco Nagar to Airport and Corridor 2 from Chennai Central to St Thomas Mount).
There are 41 stations, of which 21 are underground and 20 are above ground. The entire Phase I (i.e. 54.1 km) is fully operational.
The detailed project report (DPR) states that the metro will carry nearly 7.5 lakh passengers per day, but the current ridership estimates still fall short of the estimated ridership. Therefore, CMRL is implementing various schemes/strategies to achieve optimum utilization of its system to solve the problem.
The future of Chennai Metro looks bright with the current steady growth in ridership, thanks to CMRL’s support measures.
Further expansion II. phase of the metro will add an additional 118.9 km length with 128 stations to the network. It consists of three corridors namely Corridor 3 — Madhavaram to SIPCOT (45.8 km), Corridor 4 — Lighthouse to Poonamalle Bypass (26.1 km), Corridor 5 — Madhavaram at Sholinganallur (47 km).
The estimated value of the project is 63,246 million rubles. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2026.