CHENNAI: Chennai Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (CUMTA) will hire a consultant to study the feasibility of taking over the Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) and operating services using existing rolling stock, said CUMTA special officer I Jayakumar.
The consultant will review the earlier asset register, identify changes to the state of assets in the five years, update the previous study report recommendations on retention and disposal of assets based on discussions with Southern Railway, and produce a business plan for CUMTA’s operations, he said. The business plan is likely to be submitted by December, following which a revised memorandum of understanding will be prepared.
In 2017, the state government through CMRL, appointed a consultant to prepare a report on the takeover of the MRTS. This study identified technical and operating issues related to the takeover and prepared a list of civil, electrical, and signalling & telecommunications assets. Rolling stock assets were excluded from the review as these were to be replaced. The report also covered the various regulatory and legal issues related to the takeover.
However, things changed in 2019 after rules governing the CUMTA were notified. CUMTA will serve as the nodal agency for coordinating all public transport in Chennai. As per the revised plan of operations, consultants will be required to review the dedicated section of the MRTS only (from Chintadripet to Velachery). Additionally, the impact of the extension of St Thomas Mount (currently under construction) will also be reviewed, said Jayakumar. This would mean that the merger could be started by the end of the next financial year (2024-25).