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Chennai Transport-Related Agencies

Mon, 10/06/2019 - 10:07

Following is a list of transport related agencies that are actively involved in Chennai’s mobility planning, financing, and decision-making:-

1. Chennai MTC

Profile: The Chennai Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC), is the administrative body responsible for the operation of the public bus service in Chennai, India. The MTC has an approximate fleet of 4,000 buses and on a daily basis carries 50 lakh passengers to and fro. In March 22, 2016, the Union Transport Ministry reported that Chennai had the most crowded buses in the country with 1,300 passengers per bus in each direction per day. During peak hours, in some routes, a bus with capacity to accommodate 80 persons carries twice the number of people due to the extensiveness of the system. It has an operating area of 3,929 square kilometres (1,517 sq mi). MTC has a total of 730 routes with its largest terminus being Broadway in Central Chennai.

Scope: MTC is responsible for the maintenance of busses and bus routes, the planning of new routes and the introduction of new modes of bus transport. In collaboration with the Greater Chennai Corporation and Public Works Department, MTC is also responsible for the placement and construction of bus-shelters/bus-stops in Chennai.


Profile: The Chennai Mass Rapid Transit System, a state-owned subsidiary of Indian Railways, is a metropolitan elevated railway line operated by Southern Railways. It is the first elevated railway line in India. Although it is segregated from the Chennai Suburban Railway, both are operated by Southern Railway and are integrated in a wider urban rail network. Built at a cost of ₹ 1,171 crores, the line runs within the city limits from Chennai Beach to Velachery, covering a distance of 19.34 km (12.02 mi) with 18 stations, with an average daily ridership of 100,000[1] commuters a day. Connecting the central business area of old Madras with the IT corridor, the section has a potential capacity of 425,000 passengers a day. In 2011–2012, MRTS registered a revenue of ₹ 19.89 crores, registering a 16.25 percent increase, with 134 trains plying across all the 17 stations.

Scope: In addition to construction and maintenance of the elevated railway lines and the corresponding stations for the metropolitan region, MRTS is also responsible for the maintenance and purchase of the vehicles used.

3. MetroRail

Profile: The Chennai Metro, officially Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL), is a rapid transit system serving the city of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. The system commenced revenue service in 2015 after partially opening the first phase of the project. The network consists of two colour-coded lines covering a length of 54.1 kilometres (33.6 mi).

The Chennai Metro Rail Limited, a joint venture between Government of India and the Government of Tamil Nadu builds and operates Chennai Metro. The system has a mix of underground and elevated stations and uses standard gauge. The services operate daily between 06:00 and 22:00 with a varying-frequency of 10-20 minutes.

Expansion: Three lines covering a distance of 63 kilometres (39 mi) were proposed for the second phase of the network. In 2012, the prior plans were scrapped and a fresh study was commissioned. The State government set aside ₹36,000 crore (US$5.6 billion) for the second phase which is estimated to be completed by 2024. Surveys were completed in September 2015 for a Detailed Project Report (DPR) on the proposed three new lines - which were expected to be completed six to eight months later. The initial plan was later modified to cover 88 kilometres (55 mi). In November-2015, the CMRL was looking into possibility of extending the 3 lines by additional 35 kilometres (22 mi). By December-2016, it was announced that Chennai Metro Phase 2 would be for 104 km spreading across 104 stations. In July 2017, in a suo motu statement in the State Legislative Assembly, an extension in Phase II, involving an additional cost of ₹3,850 crores to the original phase II cost of ₹85,047 crores, was announced.

Scope: The Chennai metro has a depot at Koyambedu with ballastless tracks of 15 kilometres (9.3 mi). It covers an area of 26 hectares and houses 36 trains. The depot houses maintenance workshops, stabling lines, a test track and a washing plant for the trains. It also houses the Operational Control Centre (OCC) where the movement of trains and real-time CCTV footages obtained from the stations and on-board cameras are monitored. The company plans to build a headquarters building near the facility.

4. State Transport Authority, Government of Tamilnadu

Profile: Transport Department is one of the major departments of the State. The Transport Department is functioning in the State through its unit Offices i.e., Regional Transport Offices (RTO) and Assistant Regional Transport Offices with its Headquarters in Chennai. The Regional Transport Officers and the Assistant Regional Transport Officers are the heads of the Regional and Sub-regional Offices respectively. The Regional Transport Officers of the respective headquarters are functioning as licensing authorities for issue of Driving or Conductor's licenses' Registration Authorities for Registration of Motor Vehicles. They also act as Secretaries of Regional Transport Authorities for the grant of permits for Transport Vehicles.

The Transport Department has control over 7 Transport Undertakings, Tamil Nadu Transport Development Finance Corporation Limited, Pallavan Transport Consultancy Services Limited, Institute of Road Transport, and Motor Vehicles Maintenance Department. The Transport Department is also the Nodal Agency of the State Government in respect of projects implemented by the Southern Railway, Department of Postal and Telecommunications and the Civil Aviation of the Government of India

Scope: The primary thrust areas of the Department are enforcement of Motor Vehicles Act and Rules, and collection of Tax. There are a total of 14 RTOs in Chennai. The Transport Department is mainly involved in the task of the following functions and duties -

  1. Registration of motor vehicle;

  2. Issue of driving and conductor licenses;

  3. Issue of permits for goods and passenger vehicles;

  4. Collection of motor vehicle taxes;

  5. Enforcement of Motor Vehicle Act and Rules;

  6. Road safety measures; and

  7. Vehicular pollution control measures.

Note: The STA has also taken steps to improve feeder networks such as Autorickshaws by implementing a few sustainable and governance changes.

1. Prescription of a time schedule for converting petrol driven auto rickshaws in Chennai city to auto rickshaws run on Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board has also agreed to offer a subsidy of Rs. 3,000/- for such conversion. In Chennai city, there are 23 Auto LPG Dispensing Stations for the supply of LPG to Motor Vehicles.

2. Banning of new petrol and diesel auto rickshaw permits.

5. Greater Chennai Corporation

Profile: The Corporation maintains roads, streetlights, and flyovers across the city and also the city's cleanliness and hygiene levels. It maintains 1,160 roads measuring a total of 353.94 km and storm water drain measuring 962 km and has 213,045 streetlights. Power consumption by the streetlights amounts to 50 megawatts a day, costing ₹ 14,00,000. The Corporation has 260 parks and maintains 113 community halls for public use. The corporation registers about 400 births and 180 deaths every day. The Corporation also runs an abattoir. There are 23,538 staff working in the Corporation. In 2011–2012, ₹19 crores was allotted by the Tamil Nadu government for the development of the city areas within corporation limits.

Scope: The Corporation maintains a total of 1,160 macadamised bus routes running to a total length of 353.94 km. Total length of interior roads measures about 5,563.06 km. Total length of cement concrete roads maintained by the Corporation in the bus routes measures 3.68 km and the length of cement concrete interior roads measures 1,292.54 km.

The newly expanded region of the corporation alone has 2,752 km of roads, along which there is a 682.4-km network of storm water drains.

As of 2012, the Corporation maintains 262 bridges, road-overbridges and road-underbridges, including 65 high-level bridges, 31 box culverts, 81 slab culverts, 11 rail-overbridges, 14 rail-underbridges, 6 pedestrian subways, 6 causeways, 35 footbridges and 13 grade separators.

Apart from this, the GCC is also responsible for the building and maintaining the bus shelters in the city. In 2013, the Corporation acquired a Road Measurement Data Acquisition System (ROMDAS) to check the quality of newly laid roads. More detailed scope of work done by the Corporation regarding roads is outlined at

6. Highways and Minor Ports Department, Government of Tamil Nadu

Profile: Road and bridge infrastructure along with ports play a vital role in the development of key sectors of the economy like Industry, Technology, Agriculture, etc. Highways and Minor Ports Department administers the road infrastructure and minor ports in Tamil Nadu.The objectives of the department are to maintain and improve the roads under the control of the Government, and to provide all-weather road connectivity to rural habitations. Tamil Nadu was the forerunner in bringing out standard specifications for roads and bridges in the year 1954. The department is also in-charge of improvement and maintenance of National Highways in the State.

Scope: Highways Department of Tamil Nadu aims to develop and maintain the Highway network in the State, ensure road safety and hassle free traffic.

The Highways and Minor Ports Department comprises of

1. Highways Department

2. The Tamil Nadu Road Development Company and IT Expressway Limited (Special Purpose Vehicle: subsidiary company owned by TNRDC)

3. The Tamil Nadu Road Infrastructure Development Corporation

4. The Tamil Nadu Maritime Board

5. The Poompuhar Shipping Corporation Limited

Sl. No.

Classification of Road

Length (km)

Maintained by



National Highways (NH)


NH wing



NH Total




State Highways (SH)




Major District Roads (MDR)



C & M Wing


Other District Roads (ODR)



Grand Total





Profile: The functions of the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority are to carry out a survey of the Chennai Metropolitan planning area and prepare reports on the surveys so carried out. The main task of the CMDA is to prepare a Master Plan or Detailed Development Plan or New Town development Plan as the case may be for the Chennai Metropolitan planning Area. This process involves the preparation of an existing land use map and such other maps as may be necessary for the purpose of preparing any development plan.

On top of this the CMDA can perform such other functions as may be entrusted to it by the Government, such as

  1. The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority may, by order entrust to any local authority or other Authority as may be specified in such order, the work of execution any development plan prepared by it.

  2. The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority may by order, authorize any local authority or other authority  as may be specified in such order, to exercise any of the power vested in by or under the Town and Country Planning Act -1971 and may in  like manner withdraw such authority and the exercise of any power delegated in this behalf shall be subject to such restrictions and conditions as may be specified in such order.

Scope: In respect to the scope of information derived from the CMDA with respect to transport budgets, the CMDA is responsible for the planning of the grid of roads for any future urban development or expansion. This planning also applies to any other large scale transportation project such as the expansion of the MRTS and future roads. Another aspect that can be considered is the tax on property/properties & development/construction of new buildings falls under the jurisdiction of the CMDA. This includes a probable lane/road tax applicable for the construction of new properties.

8. Others

Apart from these seven agencies listed above, there are other agencies such as the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) and Chennai Bus Rapid Trasit System (BRTS) and National Highways Authority of India that have either minimal roles in road infrastructure (CPWD) or are proposed projects (BRTS).


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