at first ride as Chennai Metro finally starts operation
After eight years in the making, a part of Chennai's biggest
promise came to life on Monday when metro rail made its first
run with passengers.
flagged off by chief minister J Jayalalithaa through a video
conference, the first four-rake train rolled out of the Alandur
station at 12.14pm. As if watching the introductory scene
in a Rajinikanth movie, those on the platform whistled and
waved. Inside the air-conditioned coaches, the first set of
passengers clicked selfies and gaped at the city which suddenly
appeared different from the elevated track.
train reached Koyambedu at 12.35pm. This 10km stretch is part
of the 45km network to be completed by the end of 2017. After
the initial excitement, discussions veered towards the fare.
"The minimum of Rs10 is fine, but the maximum of Rs40
is a bit too much," said R Prasad, who took the first
ride. Metro rail officials reasoned that it was comparable
to other metros, and that the comfort and speed justify the
getting a metro card would get a 10% discount on tickets.
"You buy a card for Rs100 of which Rs50 is refundable.
The remaining Rs50 can be used for trips and the card can
be topped up," said a metro rail official.
service would start every day at 6am from Koyambedu and last
train will leave the station at 9.40pm. Five trains would
make 192 trips in the two directions.
was palpable along the corridor right from the morning though
it was only by noon that the chief minister entered the old
cabinet room at the secretariat to do the honours. At 12.02,
Jayalalithaa pressed a button, formally inaugurating Chennai
Metro Rail. The facilities declared open include seven stations
? Koyambedu, Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus, Arumbakkam, Vadapalani,
Ashok Nagar, Ekkattuthangal and Alandur ? and CMRL's depot
at Koyambedu. The ten kilometre elevated stretch is part of
the second corridor that runs for 22km from Chennai Central
to St Thomas Mount.
least 30% of the total project cost, estimated at Rs14,600
crore, comes as share capital from the Centre and the state
government. About 60% comes as loan from Japanese International
Cooperation Agency (JICA), while the rest is shared by the
two governments. The previous DMK government spent Rs1.143.31
crore, while the present AIADMK government allocated Rs9,608.63
crore towards the project. "The operational efficiency
which stood at 3% in 2011 has risen to 76% now," said
a government release.