Articles by G Ananthakrishnan

Ananthakrishnan is a journalist based in Chennai. He was a senior editor at The Hindu, writing for the opinion pages. He held news management positions at the newspaper. His interests are in the intersection of urban affairs, welfare, the environment and development, and explores this from policy, governance and public engagement perspectives.

Is the Small Bus an opportunity or a liability for cash-strapped Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) in Chennai? All comments made by MTC on the question give the impression that the Small Bus service is a drain on the finances of the Corporation. The bus corporation says not many people are using it, and therefore it is being curtailed or withdrawn, while people say the service is not reliable and often simply vanishes without notice.¬†This report¬†in¬†The Hindumentions some problems in the service, although it does not contain new information on what the present situation is on the ground. Failed connections The…

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Finally, it looks like the Chennai¬†Metro¬†is ready to roll out services across its full length of 45.1 km in Phase I, nine years after it was approved by the Centre. As one of the biggest urban infrastructure projects of Chennai, costing upwards of $2.5 billion, it upgrades the city‚Äôs profile globally, although it is nowhere near the emerging international paradigm of Mobility as a Service (MaaS). In fact, it is a pretty scattered set of options in Tamil Nadu‚Äôs capital, with a mix of regulated systems for low quality government-run buses, suburban trains operated by the Central government, the Metro…

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Can you travel from Kodambakkam in South Chennai to Dasaprakash on Poonamallee High Road (E.V.R Periyar High Road) at just Rs. 14, throwing in a short hop on the Chennai¬†Metro¬†also? Surprisingly, this is what the ride costs. If you are anywhere in a radius of 500 to 800 metres of the Kodambakkam Suburban Rail Station, it is just a ten minute walk to get there. With a five rupee ticket, you reach Chennai Egmore, where there a convenient transit point to the Chennai Metro. Without really stepping out of the complex, you reach the Metro station, and swiping your card,…

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India does a poor job of providing signage, and nowhere is it more evident than at the Chennai Airport. So here are some pointers to finding the Chennai Metro station and Tirusulam suburban train station from the arrivals area. There are no MTC airport buses in operation. When you are leaving the International Arrivals area, you pass through a small canopy from which you can see the car parking area ahead, and the Chennai Metro station on your left. The difficulty is in locating the elevator that will take you and your baggage to the concourse level of the Metro.…

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Chennai‚Äôs Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) is no more the monopoly provider of shared rides in the city, with share autorickshaws eating into its ridership on arterial routes. Moreover, it is losing revenues after it raised the fares, without any improvement to bus services or their quality ‚Äď it had no air-conditioned services to offer this summer. But surprise!¬†MTC¬†did not make any move to find out how much it is losing to these 8-seater share auto vehicles, most of which are operated without a proper permit. Share autos are in the grey zone, since there is no way they can be…

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Chennai Metro Rail will connect two more sections with the airport in Tirusulam-Meenambakkam by March 2018: DMS on Anna Road and Chennai Central, the city‚Äôs most important rail terminal. With that linkage, the rail system will effectively connect suburban trains operating upto Arakkonam in the West and Gummidipoondi in the northwest, from Central. It already links the city‚Äôs central bus station, CMBT, with the airport by rail. The timeline for the new connections was recently highlighted by an executive of Chennai Metro Rail Limited to a group of visitors, including this writer. Connecting the premier rail head in the city,…

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Wrong information is being put out on the official Metropolitan Transport Corporation of Chennai MTC website,¬†www.mtcbus.org, on the routes that it operates. The website itself is unfriendly and the design is years old. While MTC operates several ‚Äėsmall bus‚Äô routes, it has wrongly prefixed regular routes with S in the database, while not giving information on Small Bus routes. For example, the regular route 7E is prefixed as S07E from Broadway to Ambattur Estate. S26 has been listed as if it is a small bus, when in fact it is route 26, from Broadway to Iyyappanthangal. Such wrong information given…

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