MTC begins 20 services in 12 routes to make commuting safe for kids

Significant drop in footboard travel by students after introduction of the new services
(Photo | P Jawhar, EPS)
(Photo | P Jawhar, EPS)

CHENNAI: A month after Chief Minister MK Stalin directed the officials of Chennai Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (CUMTA) to ensure hassle-free and safe commuting for school and college students, the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) recently introduced 20 additional bus services in 12 highly congested routes.

The new services will enhance the carrying capacity of buses by 20,000 to 22,000 students a day between 8 am and 9.30 am. The routes were identified after officials from operations, planning and technical wings of the transport undertaking conducted a field study. The death of two students who travelled hanging on to MTC buses at Kolapakkam and Adyar in October prompted the study.

“After the introduction of the new services, footboard travel by students has come down significantly. Our depot managers have held meetings with the select school management to deploy staff to regulate students while boarding the buses. We are also taking other measures to curb this practice,” said a senior official from MTC.

The new services have also increased patronage of Perambur - Egmore (29A), Kannagi Nagar - Velachery (5G) and 147 (T Nagar - Ambattur IE) routes. The MTC’s fleet strength is 3,236, of which 30% does not have automatic doors. As of December 31, the MTC carries about 32 lakh commuters a day.

During the field observation, it was found that footboard travel in deluxe and express buses is relatively low when compared to ordinary buses, said an official. “It is not feasible to fit automatic doors in ordinary buses which are mostly worn out. We will ensure that all new buses have doors,” added the official.

Until 2019, the MTC received a subsidy from the government for carrying about 4.5 lakh students a day. However, the state transport undertaking does not have an official record of the total number of school and college students ferried by it.

“As per the policy decision of the government, school students in uniforms are allowed to travel free without showing any travel cards. We are working on regularising the students’ transportation on buses involving school authorities and other agencies,” added  the official.

New services: 29A - Perambur - Egmore | M 88 - Porur - Kundrathur
| M 88 - Porur - Vadapalani | 54R- Ramapuram - Kumananchavadi
| 54R - Ramapuram - Tidel park | 153 - CMBT - Kumananchavadi
| 147 - T Nagar - Ambattur Industrial Estate | 56A - Ennore - Vallalar Nagar
| 38A- Madhavaram - Broadway | 5G- Kannagi Nagar - Velachery
| 21 G- Guindy - Broadway | 21X- Guindy - Broadway (Via Mandaveli)

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The New Indian Express