The service now connects just the 10-km stretch between Koyambedu and Alandur and hence the patronage has been limited.
Exactly a year ago, Chennai Metro saw its glorious launch with 40,000 excited commuters taking a ride from Koyambedu to Alandur. Forty one lakh people have travelled by Chennai Metro Rail this past year.
Chennai Metro Rail clearly scores over suburban and MRTS networks in maintenance and safety. Yet, it hasn’t achieved the patronage that these rail systems have or even that of Delhi and Bengaluru Metro Rails.
The number of commuters travelled this past year seems far less because of two reasons: one, this limited 10-km stretch from Koyambedu to Alandur still does not have adequate mini-buses to connect the stations to interior areas, and secondly, the fares are quite high, say commuters.
S. Bharghav, a commuter, said, “I would love to travel by the Metro because it has been impeccably maintained. But the biggest hurdle is it does not serve a substantial stretch; it doesn’t even reach till the airport. Also, it is quite difficult to reach the stations along this stretch. So, I would prefer autorickshaw or my two-wheeler to using the Metro.”
The fares of Chennai Metro are the costliest in the country with fares ranging from Rs. 10 to 40 for the 10-km ride. It has recorded about Rs. 15 crore revenue from ticket sales alone this past year. Shreya Ram, another commuter, said, “How can someone who wants to travel by a public transport afford Rs. 40 everyday? Even those trip passes aren’t very affordable.”
But officials of Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) said they had taken initiatives like bringing in food stalls at stations to attract more passengers. “We have had a lot of advertisements on trains and there are several food stalls at all stations along this corridor. This will soon increase the number of people taking the Chennai Metro. We have earned about Rs. 5 crore from these property development initiatives,” an official said.