The Metropolitan Transport Corporation (formerly known as Pallavan Transport Corporation) sometimes known as the MTC, is the agency that operates the public bus service in Chennai, India. The MTC has an approximate fleet of 4000 buses and on a daily basis carries 5 million passengers to and fro which is half the population of Chennai. In March 22, 2016, the Union Transport Ministry reported that Chennai had the most crowded buses in the country with 1300 passengers per bus in each direction per day. During peak hours, in some routes, a bus with capacity to accommodate 80 persons carries twice the number of people due to the extensiveness of the system. It has an operating area of 3,929 square kilometres (1,517 sq mi). MTC has a total of 730 routes with its largest terminus being Broadway in Central Chennai.
Metropolitan Transport Corporation (Chennai - Dn.I) Ltd was established on 1 January 1972 with a fleet strength of 1,029 buses. The operational jurisdiction is the Chennai Metropolitan area. It served 176 routes and had 8 depots, including those at T. Nagar, Adyar, and Vadapalani. Depots at Anna Nagar and K.K. Nagar were established in 1973. The Pallavan Transport Corporation was split into two and a new Corporation, namely, Dr. Ambedkar Transport Corporation Ltd. started functioning from 19 January 1994 for this split Poonamallee Depot were split buses covers Broadway via Koyambedu, Ambathur, and Redhills came under Dr. Ambedkar Transport Corporation Ltd and south-bounded bus broadway via Guindy, Tambaram, and T. Nagar came under Pallavan Transport Corporation. Pallavan Transport Corporation was renamed as Metropolitan Transport Corporation (Madras Division –1) Limited, Dr. Ambedkar Transport Corporation was renamed as Metropolitan Transport Corporation (Madras Division-II) Ltd., on 1 July 1997.
In order to make the Corporations viable, and for better administrative control, Metropolitan Transport Corporation (Madras Division II) was amalgamated with Metropolitan Transport Corporation (Madras Division I) Ltd on 10 January 2001. The fleet strength of the Corporation at 1 March 2009 was 3,260 with 25 depots, a body building unit at Chromepet, a ticket printing press at K.K.Nagar and Reconditioning Unit at Patullos Road. During the year 2002-2003, 117 buses have been purchased for replacement. After 2007, thousands of number of buses are purchased for new services as well as replacement for old buses.
As of 2012, the corporation operates 42,961 services daily in 800 routes. The driver strength at MTC is 5,000 as against a required driver strength of 5,800. Local thugs and rowdies are employed as drivers. Abuse and rash driving are a way of life for these people.
Per RTO rules, an MTC bus could accommodate a maximum of 83 passengers, including 48 sitting and 27 standing. However, buses carry over 160 passengers in some routes, especially during peak hours, with many travelling on the footboard of the bus resulting in several accidents. According to Union Transport Ministry of India in March 22, 2016, Chennai was reported to have the most crowded buses in the country with 1300 passengers per bus per day per direction. This is due to the extensive routes the buses ply to and also the cost which is reasonably less than some of the major cities in the country. An exclusive and efficient BRTS on dedicated elevated roads is being proposed by MTC as well as the Tamil Nadu Government in order to improve the share of public transport. For a city like Chennai, ideally more than 60% of the people should be using public transport systems. However, owing to its vehicle density which is the second highest in the country, only 40% of the citizenry use public transport which is quite low.
Normal buses These buses in the MTC fleet were manufactured by Ashok Leyland and Tata Motors. These buses were launched in the 1990s and some continue to ply while the majority have been replaced in favor of newer buses.
Semi-Low floor buses The semi-low floored and deluxe buses have improved passenger amenities like improved lighting, plastic moulded seats and driver operated pneumatic, doors into its fleet. The first set of such buses from Ashok Leyland were introduced in February 2007. The newer range of these semi-low floor buses supplied under JnNURM are BS-III compliant and have LED displays.
Vestibule services MTC also runs articulated buses provided by Ashok Leyland in congested routes. The fares are similar to those of ordinary services. These buses have 2 conductors, plastic moulded seats and LED boards
Air-conditioned buses MTC runs Volvo B7RLE air conditioned buses on selected routes. There about 100 of these buses running on select routes at regular intervals.
Small buses MTC has launched small bus services to connect remote places of Chennai and its suburbs. These buses are provied by Tata.
The Metropolitan Transport Corporation has 32 depots, each with an average parking capacity of 200 buses.
The 46 depots of the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (as of 2016) are listed below:
As of 2012, MTC's advertisement revenue per month is ₹ 86 lakhs. About 2,000 of the MTC's 3,400 buses have been maintained by companies that advertise on the buses since December 2011, but the advertisement space was open for all to bid. In 2012, MTC decided to allow only those companies that take up the cleaning assignment. Still they will have to pay the market rate for the space, while they will get paid for the cleaning. As of 2012, the corporation pays ₹ 18 per bus per cleaner every day.
As of 22 Feb 2016 The total revenue per day of all the buses is 2.75 cr
The MTC buses have an occupancy ratio (average number of passengers to total seating capacity in a bus) of 84.35%. Each MTC bus can carry 72 people, including 24 standing passengers. The occupancy ratio in Chennai is amongst the highest for the 38 transport corporations in the country.
The MTC services are not integrated with the Mass Rapid Transit System. Some of the MRTS stations are located away from bus stops which makes transfers difficult. Recently mini-buses have started to ply as a feeder to plug the gaps in connectivity. There are buses to various parts of the city from the airport and some air passengers and many airport employees, use the service. The bus stop is close to the international terminal.
The accident rate of MTC is high compared to similar metropolitan transport corporations in the country. In Chennai, 104 people died in 2012 in accidents involving MTC buses. The driver unions are blamed for violations going unpunished and continuing unabated.
To mitigate the no. of accidents, officials of the corporation and the traffic police conduct refresher courses and yoga classes for MTC drivers.
There have complaints about operator behavior on MTC buses and these have been effectively addressed by the administration by having special counseling and yoga sessions for the workers. The entrances to most buses have at least two steps. This poses difficulty for some passengers to alight or board the buses. Some of the bus stations are poorly maintained.
MTC officials are under pressure from councilors and MLAs to introduce new bus routes to or through their constituency even though such a move may not be the most profitable of options. "While this is not always bad as certain routes need to be run even if they are not profitable, MTC as an operator should cover its basics first and meet the demands along high-capacity routes," said an expert in the field of public transport.