Techies Take The Bus As Firms Cut Costs; Shorter Routes On IT Corridor Ups Patronage
IT professionals in the city, quite literally, don’t miss the bus. Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) has found that routes it runs on Old Mahabalipuram Road, which is home to a host of IT companies, are among its most profitable.
With several companies looking to cut costs, their dependence on government buses has increased by about 10%, said representatives from National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM). “Due to cost cutting, the number of private buses hired by companies has come down from 9,000 to 6,000. This has pushed a lot of people towards MTC,” said K Purushottam, senior director at NASSCOM.
MTC has tweaked services to cater to the growing population on the IT corridor. In May 2012, it introduced three routes tailor-made for IT companies. “We have increased it to seven. We have added 50 buses on the stretch in the past year,” said an MTC official involved in planning.
MTC officials said OMR is one of the top performing sectors in the city with more than 300 buses and 50 routes. MTC is in the process of rationalizing its routes for better services. “Of the 50 routes on the corridor, seven accounted for 70% or 210 buses,” said a source. Some of these routes include T51, C51, A21, 570, and 19B.
There are only three major entry points to OMR — Velachery, Thiruvanmiyur and Madhya Kailash. MTC has realised that shortened routes with more frequent stops are in demand. For example, route 570S makes more money than 570 even though it plies 5.3km less. While route 570 covers CMBT to Kelambakkam via Guindy, Velachery and SRP Tools, 570S stops at Siruseri. “The ridership after Siruseri towards Kelambakkam is low and is not justified. On the way back from Kelambakkam towards the city, people at Siruseri prefer using 570S as there are more seats,” said a source.
Of MTC’s 100 air-conditioned buses, 60 run on OMR. “IT company employees form such a large chunk of the passengers on OMR that when there is a public holiday, MTC calls us to find out how many companies are working and what the expected demand would be,” said Purushottam. “Several companies have also put up bus timings at the entrance to encourage more people to use buses.”
Experts say OMR is ideal to implement the bus rapid transit system. “It shows people are willing to shift to public transport if services are provided,” said Shreya Gadepalli, regional director for Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. However, the quality of these services has to improve. “The buses travel at an average speed of 15kmph now. In BRT they can move up to 25kmph. A 50% increase in speed saves time, and helps the corporation reduce its fleet size by a third,” she said. Recent studies by ITDP show that 7,600 people travel per hour per direction on OMR.
Courtesy / Source: Times of India | Times City | Karthikeyan Hemalatha | TNN