Chennai: The Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) has made grand plans for developing the Chennai Central station as a hub at a cost of nearly Rs. 400 crore.
This station —the largest of the underground ones spreading over 70,000 sq.m. at a depth of 25 metres —will connect Chennai Metro to several modes of transport at this junction including the MRTS, buses and trains (suburban and inter-State).
“We have made an extensive proposal and it was also presented sometime back to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. We want this station to be a hub; we have planned various facilities at this station,” an official said to media.
An airport check-in facility is also included at this station where passengers can complete the check-in procedures, collect their boarding pass and take the Metro to the airport.
There will be walkways connecting the station with Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, the MRTS station and the Chennai Central station, sources said.
There are also plans for a fountain and an extensive car park that can accommodate at least 1,500 vehicles, they added.
But transport experts note that grade crossing are the best way to commute for pedestrians rather than subways because they don’t have to constantly change levels and it is not best transport practice as well.
Advait Jani of The Institute for Transport Development and Policy (ITDP) said, “When a lot of people are going to use this facility, it would make sense to have a grade crossing rather than subways, since they have limited capacity and can get saturated quickly. When they have planned for a major parking lot, they should also look at the comfort of pedestrians who are going to be the largest users.”