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New bus shelters in added areas soon

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The Hindu                      29.03.2013

New bus shelters in added areas soon

Staff Reporter 

Bus stops in newly added areas are likely to get new bus shelters.

Initiatives to this effect were recommended by the subcommittee on infrastructure improvement and promotion of non-motorised transport of the Chennai Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (CUMTA) at its third meeting on Thursday.

A study of all lacunae in the existing bus route infrastructure such as bus shelters will be done by Chennai Corporation with the support of MTC. The meeting was chaired by the Corporation Commissioner.

The civic body is likely to overcome the existing “legal challenges in finalising tenders” this summer and work on bus shelters is likely to be completed in many of the bus stops by monsoon.

There are more than 2,000 bus stops served by the MTC, but around 1,000 bus stops do not have adequate shelters. The lacunae are mainly because of the challenges pertaining to authorisation of the bus shelters by the land-owning agencies of bus routes. Most of the bus route roads are owned and maintained by the Chennai Corporation and the bus shelters too have formally been handed over by the MTC. Yet only around 1,150 bus shelters are found to be under the control of the Corporation across the 15 zones.

A chunk of the bus shelters are under litigation. The proposal to commission 642 modern bus shelters made last year too has been stalled because of legal hurdles and inadequate response from contractors.

The Corporation had earlier authorised Laqshya Media to install modern bus shelters at 99 locations of which the company has completed work on 72. The company has put up the facilities on a BOT basis for a period of 10 years. It would pay the civic body a little over Rs. 2 crore every year. Chennai Corporation sources said work on 27 bus shelters could not be commissioned because of traffic diversions for metrorail work in the city.

The sub committee on Thursday also stressed the need for “green signal” from Traffic Police to implement pedestrian plaza around Omandurar Estate and Mylapore Tank.

The declaration of pedestrian plaza will also require traffic changes and new locations for many bus stops.

Study of existing bus route infrastructure will also be conducted.


Coimbatore Corporation plans air-conditioned mall

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The Hindu                    14.03.2013

Coimbatore Corporation plans air-conditioned mall

The Coimbatore Corporation parking lot on D.B. Road, R.S. Puram, may wellbe a mall if the civic body has its way. —Photo: M. PeriasamY
The Coimbatore Corporation parking lot on D.B. Road, R.S. Puram, may wellbe a mall if the civic body has its way. —Photo: M. PeriasamY.

The Coimbatore Corporation is planning to construct a mall on D.B. Road, R.S. Puram. Sources in the Corporation said the facility would come up on the parking lot, adjacent to the place the Kennedy Theatre once stood.

The prime location of the land in a commercial hub, the extent of land available – 3.50 acre is the area _ the revenue the Corporation would earn, among other things, were the considerations that weighed in the minds of the Corporation’s decision makers.

The sources said the civic body would develop the mall on the public-private partnership mode, offer the land on lease to the private player and also contribute to the capital expenditure.

The return on investment would equal the civic body’s share of the capital expenditure.

The Corporation had estimated that the mall would cost Rs. 120 crore and that it could chip in with Rs. 30 crore or a little more. It had also decided that it would avail itself of a loan to raise the money and that repayment would not be a burden.

As per the proposed plan, the private party would build six lakh square feet – three of which would be for parking vehicles and the rest for the shopping area.

The sources also said that three basements of one lakh square feet each would be used for parking.

And, of the three, two would be used by the private party or promoter and the remaining floor would be thrown open to the public for parking.

The shopping area would be spread over four floors, would be fully air-conditioned, have elevators and escalators along with a host of modern amenities that would rival other malls elsewhere.

The Corporation also said that if the agreement period was for 20 years and that the rent charged was Rs. 50 square feet, the Corporation’s share at 30 per cent of the total income worked out to Rs. 5.40 crore a year.

The sources also indicated that the present dispensation led by Mayor S.M. Velusamy, Commissioner G. Latha and Deputy Commissioner S. Sivarasu was favourably inclined towards the construction of the mall.

The officials had already approached a private player and that the talks were on at an advanced level.

The sources added that since the Corporation was considering the mall, the earlier proposal for a multi-level parking at the place would be dropped.


Mini buses for city in just two months

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The Hindu                    14.03.2013

Mini buses for city in just two months

Vivek Narayanan 

In about two months, the city may finally have another means of public transport — 200 mini buses that will seat 27 each are set to be rolled out.

Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) sources said the mini buses will begin operations by the end of May or the first week of June. “These buses will ply mainly in the extended areas of the city. Apart from providing residents with a mode of transport, they will also ensure that share autorickshaws do not eat into MTC’s revenue in these areas,” an MTC official said.

As of now, two companies have been selected to make the buses. “Initially, there was a delay as there was confusion over the rates quoted by the firms. Now all that has been settled,” said the official.

The Corporation has also requested the selected companies to ensure the mini buses have a smaller chassis with a lower footboard. “This is to ensure that passengers do not find it difficult to board the bus,” the official said.

The two firms will prepare the chassis only after MTC officials inspect it and give the go ahead, and only after the inspection will the process to build the body’s bus begin.

While commuters are enthusiastic about MTC’s initiative to provide more transportation, they say the buses should be equipped with emergency exits.

“All the buses should also be user friendly for those with disabilities. Most people who have disabilities are forced to travel either by autorickshaw or by private vehicles, as neither buses nor trains are accessible to them mainly due to the height of the footboards. The government should ensure that this problem is dealt with in the mini buses,” said S. Thanigainayagam, a resident of Velachery.

The mini buses project is long pending. In May last year, State minister for transport Senthil Balaji had announced in the assembly that these buses would be rolled out. The facility is meant to integrate various modes of transport and also help people living in interior areas reach bus stops and railway stations easily.


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