Chennai roads, take me home – Times of India

Chennai News

Air quality in Tamil Nadu cities might improve in the coming months with the state rolling out cleaner vehicles. The number of electric vehicles (EVs) on TN roads has doubled in the past one year and it is expected to grow. Petrol and diesel vehicles come with a road tax component of 8% to 14%, while EVs are exempted from tax for another two years. Plus, buyers of EVs pay only ₹500 to ₹1,500 for registration. TN at present has 280 public charging stations, and this number is expected to treble this year. By multiplying charging stations, EV buyers will be rid of a lot of anxiety, leading to more nonpolluting vehicles on roads.
In two years, Tamil Nadu will replace 10% of its ageing government bus fleet. Earlier this year, tenders were floated for 2,200 new buses, but not all o f them were disabled-friendly, as against a court order. Even with the new buses, the state will have only one-fourth of its requirements met. Every day, around 1.7 crore people take a bus ride. “Accepting central grants to buy 500 electric buses might solve the problem at least within Chennai limits, and this means the state is ready to accept privatisation of transport corporations.
The transport department has come out with a policy to regulate taxi operations in Chennai. TN might fix ₹`25 to ₹`30 as the base fare and aggregators can’t charge surge pricing more than twice that even during peak hours. The government is also trying to streamline bike taxi rides. As for autorickshaws, IT minister Mano Thangaraj said the government will rope in a consultant to bring in app-based rides. Till then, there could be a rate card for autorickshaws. Transport activist R Rengachari said this promise, pending for more than a decade, should be fulfilled immediately.
Inconvenience today for a better tomorrow. That has been the Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) message as the phase 2 work began across Chennai. That tomorrow is at least four years away, and traffic movement may get more chaotic till then. So, this day next year, expect more areas to b e barricaded, with more traffic diversions. Much of the elevated viaduct may be completed by the first quarter of 2023. Commissioning of the lines may begin by 2025-end. The elevated line on OMR may be the first to be up and running. The underground section, which is 42km in phase 2, may take more time. Kellys to Taramani, covering 12km with twin tunnels, may be the last to be ready, by 2026. As for the functional phase 1, CMRL will improve last mile connectivity to metro stations with MTC small buses, e-bikes and autorickshaws in 2023.
In 2023, Chennai airport will add facilities to boost passenger capacity to 35 million per year from the current 20 million, while work is expected to begin on the second airport, at Parandur. The city airport will get a new terminal for international flights and airlines are looking at increasing domestic flights. Travellers will be able to fly out of a new terminal that will be commissioned early next year and soon after, construction will begin on a new terminal after pulling down the old building that is now used for international arrivals. This means more space for domestic passengers and flights. The multi-level car parking buildings that can hold about 2,000 cars will get a mall and multiplex in a few months, making the airport a shopping and entertainment hub. Meanwhile, passenger demands to make Madurai an international airport and to increase flights and facilities at Coimbatore, Trichy and TN’s smaller airports remain unmet.