Chennai suburbans run on a loss

Chennai’s suburban rail network that connects Chennai with places like Tambaram, Arakkonam and Tiruvallur have lost around 18 lakh in April 2019. A statistical report from Southern Railways said that the network has lost around 60,000 commuters a day in April 2019. The number of commuters in the suburban network is 30.8 million in April 2019 and 34.3 million in March 2019 as against the corresponding figures of 32 million and 33.2 million for April and March 2018 respectively.

It is not just the number of users that have reduced, but the number of commuters using the first class season ticket on the suburban network has also decreased. The first class fare in Chennai’s suburban trains are 5-10 times the normal fare and officials doubt that it could be these travelers who could have migrated to the metro railway service since the fares are almost the same.

Chennai metro rail’s air-conditioned rakes and connectivity to populous localities in Chennai like Anna Nagar could be a possible reason for the migration. Another possible reason for the sharp fall in patronage could be the frequent cancellation of suburban trains services by Southern Railways due to scheduled maintenance work on the line.