It was inaugurated by Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu and CM Edappadi Palaniswami.

Chennais underground metro inaugurated with much fanfare but how many will use itNaidu and Palaniswami inaugurating the metro. Courtesy: Venkaisah Naidu/Twitter
news Metro Sunday, May 14, 2017 - 15:49

After a long wait, Chennai’s underground metro line connecting Chetpet and Koyambedu was inaugurated on Sunday and is now open for public use.

The metro line was inaugurated by Union Minister for Urban Development and Information & Broadcasting Venkaiah Naidu, as well as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami at around 10am at Thirumangalam station. The two leaders then rode the metro from Thirumangalam to Nehru Park.

The metro line covers a 7.4 km stretch and will allow commuters to travel from Nehru Park to the airport, or to Little Mount in the other direction, in about an hour. The first Chennai Metro Rail had opened in June 2015, after which the Nehru Park-Thirumangalam forms the third stretch. It will also connect areas like Kilpauk, New Avadi Road, Shenoy Nagar, Aminjikarai and Anna Nagar.

CM Palaniswami also said at the inauguration ceremony that the metro line from Nehru Park to Chennai Central will be functional by year-end and the entire phase-I of the Chennai Metro would be wrapped up by mid-2018.

He added that the proposal for the second phase of the metro had been sent to the Centre for approval. This phase will cover 108 kilometres.

While the underground metro is expected to cut travel time and provide convenient transport to passengers, doubts have been raised about its affordability. The cost of the ticket for the newly inaugurated metro line is Rs 70.

TNM had earlier asked people if they would use the new metro line to commute. R Balachander, a government employee, had said then that he could cover the same distance by bus for just Rs 20. “How can a common citizen be expected to spend over Rs 100 on travel everyday?" he questioned.

However, a former bureaucrat M G Devasahayam had said that because the cost of constructing an underground metro was higher than constructing an overhead one, the ticket prices would remain high.

The existing metro in Chennai already sees a poor footfall - reportedly only 9,000 to 10,000 passengers commute by metro on a daily basis.

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