Five years on, Madhavaram bus depot still underutilised

With 54 platforms, the terminus can handle a maximum of 2,000 departures a day; however, it only operates about 240 to 250 per day, according to official sources.

Published: 19th September 2023 08:50 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th September 2023 08:50 AM   |  A+A-

Madhavaram mofussil bus terminus | P Jawahar

Madhavaram mofussil bus terminus | P Jawahar

Express News Service

CHENNAI:   Even as the Kilambakkam bus terminus gearing up for inauguration, the Madhavaram Mofussil Bus Terminus (MMBT), which was inaugurated five years ago, continues to remain underutilised due to poor planning and a lack of connectivity to other areas. Consequently, buses bound for Tirupati continue to be operated from both CMBT and MMBT.

As of September, the per day footfall of MMBT stands at 6,000 during weekdays which goes up to 6,500 during weekends. However, the terminus was estimated to handle 12,500 commuters a day in 2018. The MMBT, developed for Rs 94 crore to decongest the CMBT, has not fully served its intended purpose, as 50% of mofussil services of TNSTC buses bound for Tirupati still operate from CMBT. 

With 54 platforms, the terminus can handle a maximum of 2,000 departures a day; however, it only operates about 240 to 250 per day, according to official sources. TNSTC Villupuram Corporation runs 104 services from MMBT, of which 64 are operated to Tirupati and others to Tiruvannamalai, Chittor, Vijayawada, Puttaparthi, Anantapur, and other destinations.

“I was forced to shell out Rs 300 for a cab to reach Pallavaram as there was no bus service from MMBT. I should have chosen a bus (Route 201) that terminates at CMBT instead of MMBT (Route no: 202/200),” said R Krishnaveni, a commuter.

Soon after the inauguration in 2018, the transport department shifted the origination of all Tirupati-bound buses from CMBT to MMBT. The buses were operated via Redhills and Thamaraipakkam. This decision led to a fall in earnings from Rs 12,000 to Rs 5,000 per day, forcing the transport corporation to revert 62 services to CMBT.

Commuters showed reluctance to board buses MMBT due to the lack of MTC services. Particularly, commuters from Adyar, Thiruvanmiyur, Tharamani, Palavakkam, and other eastern parts of the city faced inconvenience due to the lack of bus connectivity to MMBT.

S Rajesh, a bus enthusiast, said, “The route numbers 200 and 202 (MMBT to Tirupati) via Redhills and Periyapalayam were shorter by 30 to 40 minutes compared to route number 201 (CMBT - Tirupati) via Poonamallee and Tiruvallur. However, the benefits could not be translated to commuters as we have to spend more money to reach home. Shifting of Redhills terminus to MMBT will improve patronage.”

According to official data, about 359 MTC services pass through MMBT, including buses originating from Redhills heading to Vallalar Nagar, Thiruvottiyur, and other areas. When contacted, officials from MTC said, “We have recently added more services to Chennai Central from MMBT. Shifting of Redhills depot to MMBT is practically not possible as there is a huge demand for services in the MMBT - Redhills section. Due to limited patronage for MMBT, we could not increase services,” said an official. He added that MTC has already requested to set up a mini depot at MMBT. “If CMDA allocates space, we will add more services.” A TNSTC official said a majority of South and East Chennai commuters prefer to board Tirupati buses at CMBT.


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