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Friday, January 26, 2018

Post-integration MRTS commuters to pay five to seven times more to avail rail services

Chennai:
Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) commuters get prepared to shell out more for the travel between Chennai Beach to Velachery once the rail network is integrated and merged with Chennai Metro.
The usual Rs 10 fare for travelling from Chennai Beach to Velachery is likely to come to an end with the merger of the rail network with Chennai Metro. It is learnt from sources that the fare could rise about five to seven times more.
While officials say it is too early to work out the fares, it will be same as what is being charged by Chennai Metro. This would mean, the minimum fare will now be Rs 10 and the maximum could go anywhere from Rs 50 to Rs 70.
Sources told Express that during a meeting held earlier this month on integration of MRTS and Chennai Metro Rail it was decided to enforce the Chennai Metro Rail fare structure once the merger takes place which is likely to take place by the end of next financial year.
Connecting the central business area of old Madras with the IT corridor, the section has a potential capacity of 425,000 passengers a day. The 15km alignment covers several significant landmarks of the city and currently has 18 stations. The Phase II extension of 5km when completed will add three more stations linking the Chennai Metro corridors with MRTS and suburban rail network. Currently, the state government is trying to settle the legal issues to realize the project soon.
It is also learnt that the consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers and Barsyl has been asked to make projections on the revenue after takeover based on previous data.
Sources also told Express that the lands procured for Phase I of MRTS project by the state government will also be included in the project cost while arriving at a final contribution of state government and Indian Railways.
Similarly, the cost of the Phase II extension will also be factored in. The initial cost of the project was Rs 605 crore but now the cost has escalated to Rs 919 crore due to land acquisition as well as the railway stations have to undergo fresh finishing works. The costs currently estimated for Phase II extension are only estimated costs which are likely to be revised, sources added.
 Meanwhile, MRTS will also have a separate operation and maintenance and disaster management systems which may be similar to Chennai Metro Rail. This will be done gradually, sources added

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