Urban Railways

Cheenai wants Airport-Kilambakkam Metro line quickly

Every day, over 10,000 commuters use Chennai Airport Metro Rail station. While several air passengers take the Metro train to reach the airport, hundreds of people from the southern areas such as Pallavaram, Chromepet, Chitlapakkam, Tambaram and other neighbouring locations take the Metro train from airport to travel to various parts of the city.

Chennai Metro Rail should expedite its project to extend the line from the Airport to Kilambakkam as it will greatly help thousands of people in reducing the commuting time.

V. Santhanam, a resident of Chromepet, said when governments announce such projects, it raises a lot of expectations among commuters and they keenly look forward to it. “Though there is a suburban railway line operating till Tambaram, there are thousands who travel to Chennai airport since it is the closest Metro station. If this project becomes operational, it will ease mobility and transform the lives of thousands of commuters,” he said.

Dayanand Krishnan, a resident of Chitlapakkam, says many depend on Metro Rail for their daily commute to areas such as Anna Nagar, Anna Salai and Koyambedu. “Though there is a feeder bus from Chennai airport, the services are not adequate. The more the government delays it, the cost escalation will only go up. The authorities must convene inter-departmental meetings often, resolve issues and quickly take steps for funding and construction,” he said.

According to officials of Chennai Metro Rail Ltd. (CMRL), the detailed project report for the stretch had been submitted to the government. “The project is under active consideration of the State government. The subject proposal has been placed in the 24th High Power Committee for approval and the same has been recommended for the approval of Government of Tamil Nadu,” an official said.

K.P. Subramaniam, former professor of Urban Engineering at Anna University, says although such big infrastructure projects take time for planning and implementation, it is essential to reduce system-related delays and expedite it soon.

“Unless priority is given for such special projects, it won’t be possible to execute them on time. The authorities plan to open the Kilambakkam Bus Terminus and hence it becomes all the more important to have this project in place to give good accessibility to commuters,” he said.

Shreya Gadepalli, an urban transport expert and founder of Urban Works Institute, said the people need an immediate solution till the Metro Rail work is completed and for this, the government should focus on drastically expanding the fleet of MTC buses.

“Residents prefer a Metro because buses — which were once the pride of Chennai — have become unreliable and undesirable. Despite tens of thousands of crores of rupees being poured into Metro Rail, buses have gotten almost no support, especially in the last decade. Just the cost of the Airport-Kilambakkam extension is sufficient to double the number of buses in Chennai — all AC and electric. With a network of dedicated lanes, the buses can zip past the traffic and get people to their destinations quickly,” she said.