CHENNAI: Mass Rapid Transport System (MRTS) in Chennai is under-utilised, poorly designed and lacks maintenance, says a study.
The study, which was initiated by the Goethe Institut in collaboration with the Anna University as part of Year of Germany Celebrations, found that many stations lacked basic infrastructure required for commuters and were underutilised.
Sharing the study done by students of the School of Architecture and Planning (SAP), Anna University, German Prof. Gunter Nest and architect Tyco Cote of Habitat Forum Berlin told City Express that the initiative by Goethe Institut, as part of an academic exchange, was to connect budding architects with the people to evolve human spaces in urban areas.
Prof. Nest said that the study was conducted by 40 students during the fourweek workshop at SAP.
“They were divided into 18 groups with each group consisting of two to three students. We zeroed in on four of the 18 MRTS stations.
These include Velachery, Park Town, Kasturba Nagar and Mylapore, which are situated in key locations of the city,” said Nest.
He explained that the study showed that inter-city railway stations in Chennai did not enjoy the status of traffic hubs or meeting points that could add to the character of urban life. At present, they are mostly just huge structures.
Some of the stations have big buildings, but are hardly put into use. What is more, the ticketing machines, elevators and other basic amenities hardly work, bringing to light the waste of public exchequer.
He also said that the MRTS was planned so that seven lakh commuters could use it per day, but surprisingly, it was poorly used and at some stations, there were hardly one or two commuters.
He said what was more surprising was that the gap between stations was too less. Take for instance, Kasturba Nagar, which is separated from Indira Nagar by just 800 metres.
He also highlighted ecological issues over the construction of the Velachery Station. It was on a wetland area and would be inundated during the rains. The station should have been on an elevated stretch, he observed.
The professor, who is also a planning expert, felt that the design of the MRTS was faulty and that the concept of MRTS had failed.
He highlighted the need to make people understand the feasibility of public transport by proper maintenance and utilise the stations fully so that travelling in cities could be faster and easier.
Goethe Institut will also hold a contest for universities teaching architecture in the next three months on how to deal with the MRTS issue before holding a symposium here in the city.