Boost To Urban Mobility In Chennai As Private Operators Get Nod To Ply 1,000 Buses Under World Bank Funded Urban Renewal Programme

S Rajesh

Mar 06, 2023, 11:54 AM | Updated 11:54 AM IST


The Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC), a state government undertaking that operates buses in Chennai has announced a plan to add 1000 buses to its fleet through a partnership with private players.

Under the Gross Cost Contract (GCC) model, private players would be asked to procure and operate buses using their own staff. The MTC would pay these private operators on a per kilometre basis.

The plan to expand the fleet is being undertaken under the internationally funded Chennai City Partnership: Sustainable Urban Services Program” that aims to strengthen institutions and improve the quality and financial sustainability of selected urban services in Chennai.

Estimated to cost $700 million, Chennai Sustainable Urban Services Programme (C-SUSP) is funded by Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) with each extending a loan of $150 million. Tamil Nadu Government will mobilise the remaining $400 million.

Urban services that will be supported under the program include water resource management, water supply and sewerage, urban mobility, solid waste management, and public health.

The program will complement AIIB-supported urban transport projects—such as the Chennai Metro Rail (Phase 2, Corridors 4 and 5) and Peripheral Ring Road—by improving integration of public transport modes (in terms of routes, institutions and technology) and strengthening relevant institutions.

According to MTC officials and passenger welfare association, this would help the Corporation to increase the efficiency and quality of bus services, and avoid the long process necessary for the government to procure buses on its own.

However, unions are against the move and say that it is a method to privatise the MTC.

At present, the MTC operates around 3400 buses and caters to nearly 30 lakh passengers daily.

S Rajesh is Staff Writer at Swarajya.

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