So far the MTC has acquired 10 buses deployed on 6 routes:
A1 (1) Central – Thiruvanmiyur (via Mylapore)
E18 (2) High Court – Guduvanchery (GST Road)
19G (1) Broadway – Kovalam (ECR)
21G (2) Broadway – Tambaram (GST Road)
A51 (2) Broadway – Tambaram (via Velachery)
D70 (2) Ambattur – Velachery (IRR)
Now all the 10 buses are based at the central depot near central station. So, for the D70 route, a special 7M cut service from Central station to Ambattur (via Anna Nagar) is operated in the morning and two in the reverse direction back to central in the night.
On weekends, 19v is operated as 588 from Adyar to Mahabalipuram which is quite an intelligent decision, qiven the weekend rush to the eateries and resorts along ECR.
But i find it strange that no information about these buses is available online or was made public in newspapers. The MTC really dont seem all that interested to increase the ridership. When i asked about the collections, i was told that it touches 15,000 on weekends which isnt all that bad. With a little more PR, they can easily rake in a lot more money.
Regarding the timings, almost all the buses start operations from 05:30 and gets back to the depot by 22:30. So the last trip would leave around 20:00 from broadway. Dont expect a bus after 9pm unless you are heading towards central.
The MTC dont have a habit of sticking to schedules so dont rely on the timings given at the terminus’s. The frequency of a bus in a particular direction is around:
1hr 21G D70
1.5hrs E18 A51
this should give you an idea of the maximum waiting time at your bus stop. If you are not picky about your route however, one of the volvos is sure to zoom by atleast every half an hour.
And if you are coming into Chennai by train, these are the timings for A1 from Chennai central to Thiruvanmiyur (via Mylapore)
0540 0740 0940 1140
1440 1640 1840 2040
Regarding future plans, only 10 buses have been sanctioned for this year. The govt is still undecided on future acquisitions as the buses are being run only for the prestige factor and is not expected to make a profit. Each bus comes with a price tag of over 70 lakhs while the new deluxe buses cost only 16 lakhs.
But if the MTC were really smart enough, theres a lot of money to be made, given that the Chennai weather is generally uncomfortable. Im sure there are enough people to fill entire buses. Only problem is that the public dont have the slightest clue as to where these buses are going. If time permits, i’ll put up a chennai bus map soon indicating all the volvo routes.
UPDATE 29 Jan 09