Chennai’s new bus terminus in Kilambakkam: Here is all you need to know

Travelling to the southern districts from Chennai? Here is a quick guide on the operation of buses from the new Kilambakkam bus terminus
Chennai’s new bus terminus in Kilambakkam
Chennai’s new bus terminus in KilambakkamCitizen Matters
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With the operation of southbound buses shifted from Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus (CMBT) in Koyambedu to Kalaignar Centenary Bus Terminus (KCBT) in Kilambakkam, there is not much clarity about the bus services among commuters.

Kavin, who lives in Arumbakkam, was one among those affected by the confusion over transition of the bus stand from Koyambedu to Kilambakkam.

He booked a ticket to Dindigul in an Omni bus in January-end and chose the pick-up point as Vadapalani. The bus should have picked him up at the designated stop at 9 pm. At 8 pm, he got a call from the travel agent asking him to board the bus at Kilambakkam bus terminus as Omni buses are not allowed inside the city.

Kavin had to shell out Rs 1,000 for a cab to reach the stand on time. “My ticket cost was much less than the cab fare. Koyambedu bus terminus is easily accessible by MTC buses and metro trains. Why would the government urgently want to shift the bus stand to Kilambakkam? It is causing a huge public inconvenience,” he says.

Many people have also raised concerns over connectivity to Kilambakkam bus terminus, traffic congestion on OMR and so on. Here is easy guide on the operations in the new terminus, how to reach there and the services and facilities available to passengers.

Which buses have shifted to Kilambakkam bus terminus?

Chennai now has three bus stands – CMBT in Koyambedu, KCBT in Kilambakkam and the Madhavaram bus terminus.

Operation of all the southbound buses, including the SETC buses, TNSTC buses and the Omni buses, were shifted from CMBT in Koyambedu to KCBT in Kilambakkam on December 30, 2023 (the day of inauguration). Only the westbound buses are now operated from CMBT in Koyambedu. Similarly, all the northbound buses are operated from Madhavaram bus terminus.

Passengers who look for information on the government buses operated from Kilambakkam can access it from the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) web portal. It has both the Tamil and the English versions.

In the ongoing case related to the Kilambakkam Bus Terminus, the Madras High Court in its order has granted interim permission for Omni buses to ply and pick up passengers from Porur and Surapet toll gate in the bypass and Kilambakkam Bus Terminus until permanent parking arrangements are made for the Omni buses.

At present, the Kilambakkam bus terminus sees an average footfall of around 20,000 to 30,000 passengers on weekdays, while the footfall goes above a lakh during the weekends or special occasions.

The total number of buses operated from Kilambakkam bus terminus.
The total number of buses operated from Kilambakkam bus terminus.(Data sourced from CMDA)

The Kilambakkam bus terminus also has a parking facility for 410 buses. Of this, around 250 have been allocated for the Omni buses, while the rest is for government buses. This apart, CMDA is constructing an exclusive parking facility for the Omni buses in Mudichur to be ready by April-end, where 120 buses can be parked.

“SETC buses that start in the evening will reach the next morning. Half of these government buses will be on the move. So, parking facilities are needed only for one-third of the total government buses. We have managed to provide that,” says Anshul Mishra, Member Secretary of CMDA.

He adds, “Transition is always a painful process, even if it is a small house. Shifting the bus stand is all the more difficult. Transitional issues were there initially and I don’t deny that. We have communicated about the transition clearly to all the other stakeholders well ahead. However, we could have communicated it better to the public. We have been doing our best to address these issues.”

On the connectivity to Kilambakkam bus terminus

At present, MTC buses are the primary means of connectivity. As many as 698 MTC buses make 4,651 trips. The following are the routes operated by MTC to Kilambakkam bus terminus:

MTC routes to Kilambakkam.
MTC routes to Kilambakkam.Pic Courtesy: CMDA
MTC routes to Kilambakkam.
MTC routes to Kilambakkam.Pic Courtesy: CMDA
MTC routes to Kilambakkam.
MTC routes to Kilambakkam.Pic Courtesy: CMDA
The average interval of MTC buses operated to Kilambakkam bus terminus.
The average interval of MTC buses operated to Kilambakkam bus terminus. Pic Courtesy: CMDA

This apart, shuttle services (non-stop/stops in one or two places) are provided from the main areas like Koyambedu, Guindy and Tambaram. This is aimed at reducing travel time. The shuttle services are scheduled in such a way that they make about 4,000 trips a day. The fares may vary from Rs 17 to Rs 37.

Other facilities include prepaid auto and taxi facilities at government fixed rate of Rs 18/km at Kilambakkam bus terminus. As of January 31 data, 642 prepaid auto bookings and 510 prepaid taxi bookings were made. The terminus also provides parking for app-based cab and auto aggregators.

“We propose to construct a railway station at a cost of Rs 20 crore, at Kilambakkam across GST road, which is 500 metres away. This will be connected to the main terminal through a skywalk (FOB over GST Road). We are planning to finish the work for both the railway station and FOB by December,” says Anshul.

Read more: MTC staff brave poor working conditions to keep Chennai buses running

Other facilities

For the ease of passengers, the CMDA has provided 200 luggage trolleys in addition to eight battery-operated vehicles (BOVs). One of the BOVs is equipped to take in persons with disabilities along with a wheelchair.

A medical emergency facility, in addition to three feeding rooms for mothers is also run by Kauvery Hospital.

This apart, there are six RO plants to provide clean drinking water and sufficient toilets for the expected occupancy of the bus terminus. The bus terminus also has dormitories for drivers and conductors.

Shanthi, another passenger, complains that there are hardly any food stalls in the bus stand. Responding to this Anshul says, “Food stalls will operated by a single concessionaire. As of now, there are four food stalls and more will be opened shortly. We will also have canteens serving food at subsidised rates.”

Increased traffic congestion

The project was supposed to ease traffic congestion in the city, but it has only increased it further, especially in OMR, where Metro Rail construction has been causing major inconvenience for the public.

Responding to this Anshul says, “Let us differentiate between short-term and long-term issues — setting up of a bus terminus addresses the long-term issue. Metro work causing traffic congestion is a short-term issue. Once the metro is in place, it will eventually ease traffic. For the short-term issue, we cannot put up a new road. Luckily, we have CUMTA and we are talking with all the concerned departments to come up with solutions to resolve congestion issues.”

Read more: How can Chennai’s third master plan encourage sustainable transport?

Grievance redressal mechanism

There are around six ‘May I help you desks?’ and four help desk numbers (for both call and WhatsApp). We are also making a new mobile application for KCBT, says officials. For queries related to Kilambakkam bus terminus, the public can contact the below helpline numbers. The help desks also assist the passengers in finding their lost items like ATM cards, keys and so on.

The CMDA also has an Instagram page kcbt_official where they put regular updates.

Helpline numbers for any queries related to Kilambakkam bus terminus.
Helpline numbers for any queries related to Kilambakkam bus terminus. Pic courtesy: CMDA

Shobana Radhakrishnan is a Senior Reporter at Citizen Matters.

This article was first published in Citizen Matters and has been republished with due permission. (c) Oorvani Foundation/Open Media Initiative.

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