I went to Bangalore for a Morning-Evening trip today by flight and landed in Chennai around 6:30PM. My father gave me an idea to avoid the traffic jam at Katipara due to the event on my way from Airport to my house in West Mambalam – it was to take the local electric train. I did just that just, walked across the road from Airport to Tirusulam Station (I didn’t know the underpass was already opened today) bought a ticket for Rs.4 (unbelievable) and got down in West Mambalam. Took an Auto from there to my house paying Rs.25. The whole trip from Airport to my house took less than 25 minutes and I saved myself the hassle of waiting in Traffic Jams. The last time I travelled in Chennai electric train (though I more frequently travelled by train than now during my school/college days) was few weeks back when I came back from Bangalore by train, landed in Chennai Central and then taking the electric train from Park station to Mambalam.
These two trips set me thinking into the usefulness of several new bridges coming in Chennai including the recently opened Kodambakkam/Mahalingapuram bridge. I am seeing the fact that over bridges don’t help much other than employment to hundreds of bridge workers in the short term – they simply move the traffic bottleneck from place to another. It is an established finding now around the world that the real solution is to build more of mass transport systems including Trains in more routes, Buses and to educate people on the advantages of using them. The next step will be to make it convenient for people to convert to these public transport by providing Air Conditioned Trains, Buses & Terminals, easy access to the terminals including underpasses & escalators, a common smart card-based ticketing systems for an integrated system (bus, train, metro) in the city. If you are not convinced travel to Singapore (or) London and use their public transport for a few days.
Hope our policymakers are thinking on the same lines.