Chennai readies for Seamless Transit – Metro Train’s test run in 10 days

CHENNAI: Seamless public transportation may soon make commuting in the city a snap. The test run of Chennai’s first Metro train is likely to happen in the next 10 days, according to a Metro Rail spokesman.

The electrical functionality of all sub-systems in the coaches was tested on Wednesday. This included tests on lighting, air-conditioning and other electrical parts of the train that arrived in the city on May 31. The coaches were made by Alstom in Brazil. The maiden run is most likely to take place within the next 10 days

The foundation is in place to integrate all modes of public transportation. Suburban trains, MRTS rail stations and MTC bus terminals are just waiting for metro rail rakes to start zipping through two major corridors from the north of the city to the south.

The government, which will have to ensure that it brings all transit systems together to make commuting through the city efficient and decongest roads, plans to appoint a consultant to carry out a detailed study from September on integration of the various modes of transport.

With a rise in the number of vehicles in the city, the roads are showing signs of the pressure they are under, in the congestion, an increase in accidents and constant wilting of newly relaid stretches.

The city had 87,000 vehicles in 1984 and 36.82 lakh in 2012. The inability to provide proper public transportation has resulted in a worrying decline in use of public transit systems by 75% over the past three decades. Among the factors contributing to this trend is an increase in vehicular ownership, a bus fleet that has not been made larger.

“The consultant we chose will have to submit the report in seven months so we can begin work on the integration as soon as possible,” a CMDA official said. CMDA’s second master plan set a target of 70% of commuters using public transport by 2026. This will require a complete turnaround from the current situation, in which there is a complete lack of integration between services in the four rail corridors and bus routes in the city.

He said that the laying of 800 metre test track in the Rs 198 crore state-of-the art depot in Koyambedu is already complete. Earlier, it was reported that Chennai Metro Rail had invited Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa to flag off the trial run. However, the spokesman refused to divulge any details.

Meanwhile, tenders have been floated to execute the work on stretch between Officers’ Training Academy and Chennai airport. The work came to a standstill after Metro rail terminated the contract of Lanco Infratech Limited, which was carrying out works in the stretch.

The state plans to introduce feeder services such as minibuses, autorickshaws and taxis in what is referred to as a route’s ‘area of influence’ — the localities from which the highest patronage is expected. These feeder services ferry commuters from their doorsteps to stations and vice versa. Once metro rail is running, it will be connected by feeder services. The state additionally proposes common ticketing for hassle-free transportation. “Integration is needed,” said urban transportation expert Raj Cherubal. “We have very good rail system in place, but it has to be more user-friendly.”