Chennai’s MRTS: CUMTA And CMDA To Assume Joint Control, CMRL’s Future Role In Pipeline


Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) and Chennai Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (CUMTA) will now jointly assume responsibility for MRTS, as per an official statement from CUMTA.

Previously, there was a plan for Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) to take over the MRTS (Mass Rapid Transit System) in the initial stage. However, this approach has undergone a change.

Initially, both CUMTA and CMDA will oversee the day-to-day operations, with a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) set to be established.

Approximately seven to eight years later, the possibility of CMRL taking over MRTS operations will be reconsidered, contingent on the prevailing circumstances.

This decision stems from CMRL’s current involvement in multiple projects, including Phase 2 expansion and feasibility reports for other cities, which led to the adjustment in the original plan.

CUMTA is in the process of appointing a consultant by the end of this month, tasked with creating an asset statement and a business plan for MRTS.

The key elements of the study include:

Asset Review: The consultant will revisit the asset register, taking into account changes in the state of assets over the past five years. This will provide critical insights into the condition and readiness of the MRTS infrastructure for integration.

Recommendations Update: The earlier study report’s recommendations regarding asset retention and disposal will be updated based on discussions with Southern Railway, the current operator of the MRTS. This will help shape the future direction of MRTS operations.

Business Plan: The consultant will produce a comprehensive business plan outlining the strategies and operational framework for CUMTA’s takeover of MRTS services. This plan is expected to be submitted by December.

This comprehensive report is expected to be finalised by January and will be presented to the State government.

The original 2017 report, prepared by a consultant appointed by the state government through (Chennai Metro Rail Limited), identified various technical and operational challenges associated with the MRTS takeover.

Additionally, plans are underway to acquire new air-conditioned coaches for MRTS and to operate trains with a mix of air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned coaches, as per the official, reports The Hindu.

Over the next two years, the primary focus will be on enhancing the stations to improve the passenger experience. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure the seamless integration of both MRTS and the Chennai Metro Rail system, enhancing the mobility and convenience of commuters.

CUMTA’s role evolved in 2019 with the notification of rules governing its operations. It is now positioned as the central agency responsible for coordinating all public transport in Chennai, providing a more holistic approach to transit integration.