In two weeks, a Chennai Metro ride will help commuters travel from the northern part of the city — Wimco Nagar — to the Chennai airport in the south in just a little over an hour. The phase I extension project from Washermenpet to Wimco Nagar, opening five years after the construction began, will have stations at Tondiarpet, Kaladipet and Tiruvottiyur.
According to officials of Chennai Metro Rail Limited, since the stretch faced heavy traffic congestion during peak hours, it would improve mobility for people and bring down travel time. “Initially, the number of passengers travelling may be a little low, but eventually it will pick up,” an official said.
But since the fares of Metro Rail are high, ranging from ₹10 to ₹60, the stretch may not draw commuters in large numbers, sources said.
5% increase expected
“We are expecting a 5% increase initially in the number of people using the system. Maybe when the pandemic is over and everyone is back to office, it can increase a little more. But the fares have to be brought down for more people to travel,” an official said.
Jeyanthi V., a commuter, said a small section of people travelling from places like Tiruvottiyur to the Madras High Court may use this; then, there will be some travelling to places like Central and Guindy.
“Since there is good connectivity of suburban trains too and it is cheaper as well, I’m not sure how many will prefer to use the Metro, unless they bring down the fares. A public transport that wants to connect all parts of the city should be affordable to all. If they reduce fares, certainly people will be willing to travel, since it is clean and maintained well. Perhaps, it will help those from the southern and central parts of the city to travel to the north easily,” she said.