Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) is gearing up to enhance commuter convenience in its upcoming phase-2 metro stations by introducing first and last mile connectivity through small electric vehicles. As per report, CMRL intends to operate feeder services utilizing electric autorickshaws and buses, after government approval. The second phase, spanning 116.1 kilometers, is anticipated to become operational between 2026 and 2028.
A CMRL official told , “The government wants us to operate small e-buses and e-autos. We are in the process of devising strategies, including vehicle procurement, routes, charging infrastructure, fares, and operational mechanisms. Whether in collaboration with a private firm or through independent operation, the plan will be developed at a later stage.”
The official also highlighted the potential to introduce services connecting the Kilamakkam bus terminus to the airport, and other locations upon securing requisite permissions.
This initiative emerges following CMRL’s challenges in providing efficient first and last mile connectivity during phase-1. Earlier attempts at various feeder services like shared autos, cabs, e-bikes, and app-based cabs were discontinued due to low patronage during the pandemic. Despite ongoing efforts, many passengers relying on smaller metro stations have been forced to resort to autorickshaws for seamless connectivity.
Presently, CMRL collaborates with the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) to operate 22 small buses from select major metro stations. However, commuters using less prominent stations face gaps in last mile connectivity options. To bridge this gap, CMRL is considering alternatives, including partnering with established private transport firms or integrating services under the state transport department’s permit regulations.
Transport experts propose a collaborative approach that leverages existing expertise in the market. Sivasubramaniam Jayaraman from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP-India) suggested, “CMRL can coordinate with the state transport department to facilitate permits for first and last mile connectivity. A market-driven approach could attract private firms to provide the necessary services, creating a comprehensive solution for CMRL passengers.”