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Chennai hunts for second mega bus stand

DC | S. Sasidharan/N. Arun Kumar/ P.A. Jebaraj |

Chennai: The Chennai mofussil bus terminus (CMBT) at Koyambedu, inaugurated in 2002, might be the largest bus terminus in Asia, but it is bursting at the seams now as the arrival of buses has nearly doubled since its inception.

On any given day, the Koyambedu terminus depicts a scene of chaos, cramped with buses and passengers. The terminal that was thought to be an alternative to the Broadway bus stand, is no more the luxury it was a couple of years ago.

It is hard to believe these days that the terminal had acquired ISO 9001:2000 certificate for effective maintenance. Initially, it handled around 1,200 buses per day. But, nine years hence, the number of buses touching the terminus has increased manifold and the terminal now handles around 3 lakh passengers every day.
One can see buses queueing up for several minutes at the entry and exit points waiting for the traffic signal which worsens during festivals and the summer season. The clogging of buses on days leading to Deepavali, Pongal and all through summer at CMBT not only affects the terminus but also throws out of gear traffic all along the inner ring road, especially the stretch between Anna Nagar and Kathipara, causing hardship to city motorists.
A senior bus driver of the state transport corporation worryingly says that entering the terminus and exiting it has become an arduous task over the years, sometimes it consumes more time than taken to reach Chengalpattu that is 50 km away. The ongoing metro rail works have also added pressure on the terminus as a considerable part of the city bus bay has been allocated to it.
Though the bus terminus is huge, constructed on 36 acres with 180 bus bays that could accommodate 270 buses at any given time, it now struggles to handle 3,000-odd buses a day.
“The terminus can’t handle more buses than it does now and the government has to look for other options,” declared an official of CMDA that manages the terminus.
Govt puts brakes on Madhavaram terminus

After having shelved the Velachery satellite bus terminus project, the much expected mega bus terminal at Madhavaram, aimed at decongesting Koyambedu terminus, has also been deferred by the state government. According to sources, the feasibility report submitted by the firm appointed to conduct the study has suggested that the identified site was not conducive for setting up a bus terminal at this point of time considering the movement of containers along the stretch. However, the CMDA authorities are firm in their decision regarding the proposed bus terminus at Vandalur, near Chennai.

“The facility that was to come up on an 8-acre vacant site at Madhavaram truck terminal has been deferred as it appears to be non-conducive at this point of time,” sources in CMDA told DC.
The consultant — Mahindra — has stated that the project may not be viable as the vehicular traffic, mainly containers, has increased considerably in recent times. They pointed out that the truck traffic would affect the free movement of buses to and from the terminus.

However, the official said the scheme was not shelved and would be taken up after six months. “Once the linking up of Chennai-Kolkata highway (NH5) and work on the outer ring road is completed, truck movement would be reduced along the Madhavaram stretch and the project might take off.”

Last year, CMDA had secured the government’s nod for setting up two terminals at Velachery and Madhavaram at Rs 80 crore to decongest CMBT and nearby stretches. However, the Velachery plan was shelved as it could affect the alignment of the proposed monorail. CMDA has now identified 60 acres near Vandalur to construct a new bus terminus that has evoked opposition from a section of the people. “It is a development work aimed to ease congestion. Hence, it would not be shelved,” the source affirmed.

Roadblock for Vandalur project

The state government’s proposal to construct a mega bus terminal at Vandalur for the southern districts, to decongest the city, has hit a roadblock with residents of the area opposing it.
As the government had put the Velachery bus stand project on hold, with the railways refusing to provide land and the state planning to set up monorail station in the area, Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) picked Vandalur for the bus terminus.

But sources in CMDA said it would not be an easy task to acquire land in Vandalur as the locals had raised objections to the project.

“For the past three months, CMDA and revenue department officials have been visiting the Vandalur site and whenever they go there, people express their displeasure as they think the project will disturb the peaceful ambience of the area, and many of them might lose their lands,” the sources said.

D. Gunasekaran, president of Vandalur village panchayat, said CMDA had identified farmlands for the bus terminus project which would not only deprive people of their livelihood but also cut down the greenery.

“When you have more than 100 acres of poramboke land in Kolapakkam, what is the necessity to acquire land in Vandalur?” he wondered.
The government had accorded administrative sanction for bus terminals at Madhavaram and Velachery two years ago, but put the Velachery project on hold as it had planned to construct a monorail station there.

CMDA sources said the Velachery project had been shelved as railways had expressed their inability to provide land which they needed for MRTS expansion. “With no other land left in the area and the government’s proposal to put up a monorail station there, the government has unofficially shelved the project. Instead, it is pushing hard for the Vandalur terminal,” the official said.





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vandalurpublic's picture
by vandalurpublic (not verified) on
New Bus Terminal at VANDALUR is the inevitable project because all the commuters are struggling to cross narrow congested roads and signal at Perungalathur to reach Chennai and it is taking nearly 1 to 2 hours to cross Perungalathur unnecessarily. A SETC bus for example its journey time is 2 hours (from Dindivanam to Chennai) but it is taking unnecessary additional 1 hour to cross this specific point alone i.e. Perungalathur. This is really a burning and frustrating issue for public . So "VANDALUR INTERCITY BUS TERMINAL IS THE MOST WELCOME PROJECT". Some forces are acting to oppose this proposal. But people know that if Chief Minister Ms. J. JAYALALITHA madam proposed a mega project no body can stop it. PEOPLE ARE EAGERLY AWAITING TO SEE THE INAUGURAL FUNCTION OF "VANDALUR INTERCITY BUS TERMINAL" BY OUR ONE AND ONLY CREATIVE CHIEF MINISTER "MS. J. JAYALALITHA MADAM". -Vandalur Public
kumarby's picture
by kumarby (not verified) on
its 100% worth having bus terminal n vandalur. lets all join hands and cooperate the govt as its for good cause.lets not support crocodile tears of few opponents.
Davide's picture
by Davide (not verified) on
As a Foreigner, Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus was my first impact with India after landing in Chennai. I was shocked :) I may want to read my story here
sridharraman1970's picture
by sridharraman1970 (not verified) on
This may not be a correct move because vandalur is located at 25 kms from the centre of the city. It is very difficult for a common man(middle class, lower middle class and low class)who uses the bus for which he has to travel 25 to 40 kms to catch moffasul bus. If it is airport then it is correct since only higher class people travel by flight and they can go to airport using taxis whereas it will be a big problem even to go to Vandalur from the city for a comman man. The best solution is to construct elevated roads dedicated to moffusil bus from koymabedu to moduravoyil bybass so that moffusil buses can avoid using arterial roads around koyambedu so that the traffic congestion gets greatly reduced. Depots can be located from 10KMs from koyambedu so that buses scheduled to leave within two or three hours can be parked in koymabedu so that the usage of bus bays can be optimally used which will avoid wasteful expenditure in construction another bus terminus and great inconvinience to the public can be avoided


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