Chen­nai Metro wraps up Phase I

PM inaugurates the last leg of Metro Rail Phase 1; max­i­mum fare cut, fre­quency of ser­vices in­creased

The Hindu - - FRONT PAGE - Su­nitha Sekar

A decade af­ter it was an­nounced, Phase I of the Chen­nai Metro Rail was com­pleted on Sun­day, with the open­ing of the 10-km stretch from AG-DMS to Wash­er­man­pet. Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and Chief Min­is­ter Edap­padi K Palaniswami launched the fi­nal stretch from Tirupur through video-con­fer­ence.

Af­ter putting up with traf­fic con­ges­tion and re­stricted road space for nearly seven years, com­muters can look for­ward to travers­ing the en­tire 45 km stretch of Phase I of Chen­nai Metro Rail.

A decade af­ter it was an­nounced, the Phase I of the project was com­pleted on Sun­day with the open­ing of the 10 km stretch from AGDMS to Wash­er­man­pet. Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and Chief Min­is­ter Edap­padi K Palaniswami launched the stretch from Tirupur via video­con­fer­enc­ing.

The open­ing of this stretch will sub­stan­tially re­duce the travel time for a com­muter go­ing all the way from Wash­er­man­pet to the air­port. While it may take about an hour and 15 min­utes by road, it will be only 40 min­utes by Metro Rail.

The travel time from Chen­nai Cen­tral to the air­port via Govern­ment Es­tate will only be about 30 min­utes by Metro, while it may take up to an hour by road dur­ing peak hours.

With the open­ing of this stretch, the max­i­mum fare has been re­duced by ₹10; the min­i­mum fare is ₹10 and the max­i­mum is ₹60. The fre­quency of trains has gone up now.

There will be a train ev­ery five min­utes dur­ing peak hours (8.30 10.30 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.) and one ev­ery seven min­utes dur­ing non-peak hours (6 a.m. to 8.30 a.m., 10.30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 8.30 p.m. to 10 p.m.). CMRL sources said at present trains are op­er­ated be­tween 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., but there is a plan to ex­tend the tim­ings very soon.

Union Min­is­ter of State (In­de­pen­dent Charge) Hous­ing and Ur­ban Af­fairs Hardeep Singh Puri, who came down to Chen­nai for the in­au­gu­ra­tion, said, “With the com­ple­tion of Phase I, rid­er­ship [num­ber of peo­ple trav­el­ling] will go up con­sid­er­ably. We ex­pect 2 lakh peo­ple to use the Metro ev­ery day.”

Women take con­trol

On Sun­day, two 20-year-old women — L .Shruthi and Reena Arunacha­lam — drove the trains from Chen­nai Cen­tral to Wash­er­man­pet. Reena Arunacha­lam said, “It is pure joy to go around the city, in full con­trol of a train with thou­sands of pas­sen­gers.”

Two women A. Preethi and G. Jayashree drove the first ser­vice of Metro Phase I four years ago.

Chen­nai Metro Rail will of­fer free rides for com­muters across the en­tire 45 km till Mon­day night, sources said.

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