Chennai Metro Rail — An Eye Opener

Abhishek Paul
2 min readMar 15, 2019

I have never been on the Chennai Metro. My only association has been the unpleasant traffic jams that were created during the construction. But a recent visit to their office gave me new found respect.

The Chennai Metro Rail office in Koyambedu is an impressive campus. Listening to the Operations Manager share the details of the Metro Project, I was amazed at both the scale of the vision and the world class quality in the finished project. These two words kept coming back to me the more I heard from the team.

Couple of specific interactions that drove home this point are what I’ve highlighted.

The meeting was put together to increase utilization by enhancing the last mile connectivity, specifically to the large IT parks using service providers. When some folks from the tech campuses complained about the prices the service providers were charging, the providers felt obliged to offer discounts, act apologetic, etc. But the Director (Metro) stepped in and said that price needs to be compared to facilities offered to be fair and if the service providers were providing a smooth, reliable and comfortable ride, people should / would be willing to pay appropriately. A comparison between the significant differences in facilities of the Metro vs MRTS and the associated price variance drove home the point. He wasn’t apologetic nor was he dismissive. He changed / elevated the paradigm.

The other instance was around the issue of allowing service providers space to pick up / drop employees easily from within the tech campuses thus saving them a long walk. The campus administrators complained about the space it would take from already congested parking areas for the employees, the Director once again stepped in and challenged the paradigm. He said that we were looking at the issue backwards. The public transport providers were actually our friends because they ferry multiple people throughout the day while a private vehicle owner only serviced very limited people and remained idle, occupying space throughout the day. Trying to accommodate private parking was a fool’s game for companies, campuses or the city. The solution would be to make public transport so reliable and convenient that it would eliminate the need for private vehicles.

My association with the CMRL needless to say has undergone a sea change now.

PS: Do check out the details in a very well put together website for CMRL.

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