CHENNAI: Eight years after it received the Governor's assent and was published in the gazette, the Chennai Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (CUMTA) Act and its relevant rules were finally notified on Wednesday paving the way for integrated functioning of Multi Modal Transportation System. This means seamless travel on Chennai's public transport systems may soon be a reality for the city's commuters.
Housing Secretary S Krishnan passed the Government Order notifying CUMTA. The Chief Urban Planner (Transport) of Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) will be the Chief Executive officer of CUMTA under whose control the authority will function.
The CUMTA will also have a person nominated by government. He or she will have to be an eminent traffic and transportation expert having knowledge of and experience in the field of transport planning, management, operations, engineering economics and disciplines related to urban transport.
The newly notified authority will coopt three persons as members to represent the operators of new modes of transit, experts in the area of urban transportation and for representing public transportation, passengers, cyclists, pedestrians and similar groups for a three-year tenure.
The members will have the same status and rights and privileges as a nominated member and will be paid a sitting fee specified by the government.
The authority will have a separate fund and the budget of estimated receipts and expenditure will have to be prepared by September 15 of every year.
Currently, a staggering 10 different agencies are involved in traffic and transportation management in the Chennai Metropolitan area. These agencies are governed by various ministries and departments. CUMTA would be a single body to monitor the implementation of various traffic and transportation measures, including promoting the cause of public mass passenger transport systems and regulating their operations, besides implementation of traffic and transportation infrastructure in the Chennai Metropolitan Area.
As a coordinating body, CUMTA would help institute integrated transport planning and decision-making. CUMTA would help give direction to the individual agencies and to the government’s overall transport strategy.
What does this mean for the Chennai commuter? If implemented well, CUMTA could ensure that a commuter could switch from, say, Chennai Metro to Metropolitan Transport Corporation bus to Mass Rapid Transit System trains with minimal hassle as all these public transport systems would be integrated to work together. In fact, once the CUMTA rules are notified, the proposed plan to have a universal travel card for all modes of transport is also likely to become a reality.
The CUMTA Act, which was aimed at framing an urban transport policy for the Chennai Metropolitan Area on the lines of the National Urban Transport Policy, received the assent of the Governor on November 27, 2010 and was published in the Tamil Nadu Gazette Extraordinary on December 2, 2010. However, as it had not been notified since then, it has only remained on paper.