More neighbourhoods are set to join the Metro rail bandwagon. A high-level committee that is looking into the feasibility of constructing more corridors plans to take the metro network to neighbourhoods that are not covered under Phase 1 of the project. A detailed study has been carried out for one more corridor (in addition to the 2 corridors under Phase I) that will be constructed under phase II of the metro expansion. A senior official of the Metro Rail said the third corridor under consideration was from Ambattur to Tiruvanmiyur via Ring Road, Arcot Road, Panagal Park, Eldams Road, Luz Church Road, R K Mutt Road, Adyar bridge, Lattice Bridge Road. According to the official, in the next couple of years, 70% of the commuters would be using public transport. Currently, the share of public transport — buses and suburban trains — in moving commuters is only 33 % while 71% of the residents use private vehicles. The share of public transport had grown inversely with passing years — 60% in 1992, 53 % in 2003, 41 % in 2008 and 33 % in 2010, the official said. “Ideally, the share of public transport should be 70 % for a city with a population of 8 million. It is this gap that the Metro Rail is trying to fill up. The number of commuters travelling suburban trains has risen but not in tune with population growth,” he said. So, the future corridors also aim to link the neighbourhoods to the existing mass transit network. Another Metro Rail official said the high-level committee would decide on Phase II expansion and the state government would select which corridors were to be constructed first. “We will have to identify the corridors, apply for Union government approval and arrange funds before finalising a plan for construction. The whole exercise may take three or more years,” he said. The Metro Rail is also planning to stretch its corridor under Phase 1 from airport to Pallavaram or Tambaram. The first two corridors under Phase I — Washermenpet to airport via Anna Salai and Central to St Thomas Mount via Koyambedu — have been given priority because of heavy traffic density. Alignment for these corridors link other modes of transport: Bus stands, mofussil bus terminus, railway stations, MRTS and airport. “This is the first time in any city that all modes of transport are being linked with Metro Rail in the first phase itself. The subsequent corridors too will be selected in such a way that commuters can switch from Metro to suburban trains or MRTS without any hassle,” said an official. The future solution to eliminate commuting woes lies in Metro Rail because of two reasons: Widening of roads with large scale land and building acquisition is not feasible in the heart of the city and dedicated expressways or bus bays are not feasible because of numerous existing flyovers. “Monorail or light rail can also be considered as feeder services to link with metro corridors”, says a source.
St Thomas Mount is being planned as a major hub where you can switch over from Metro Rail trains to MRTS or suburban trains. To accommodate the three avatars of the rail transport, a huge multi-level station is being planned by Metro Rail at St Thomas Mount. The four-layered hub will help a smooth changeover for commuters from suburban trains to MRTS or Metro without much hassle. Suburban train commuters from Tambaram will be able to change over to MRTS to proceed to Velachery or Mylapore or hop on to Metro to travel to Koyambedu without getting out of the station complex. The MRTS line from Velachery to St Thomas Mount, Metro line from Central to St Thomas Mount via Koyambedu and the Tambaram-Beach suburban line will converge at St Thomas Mount. As per the design, the elevated station will have a Metro Rail station on the top floor, followed by an MRTS station a level below and then a vast concourse area for commuters to switch over to these two modes or to step down to the ground level, which will house suburban trains. The state government is also planning a bus terminus near the proposed Metro Rail station complex for commuters who wish to travel by bus to other parts of the city. “A bus terminus is being planned so that commuters can also travel to places not connected by rail-based mass rapid transit system,” said an official. Suburban commuters are waiting for the Metro Rail project to get over so that they can enjoy a hassle-free travel to commercial districts in Anna Salai and Nungambakkam High Road. With Chennai Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority Bill being okayed in the state legislature, the government is working towards putting in place a common ticketing system for suburban trains, Metro, MRTS and buses. Other locations that Metro will integrate with either suburban trains or buses are Washermenpet, Fort, Central, Egmore, Chindadripet, Guindy, Koyambedu and Vadapalani.