CUMTA – Urban Transit Authority For Chennai Notified

The Housing And Urban Development Department notified Chennai Urban Metropolitan Transit Authority Bill (CUMTA) on Jan 16, 2019. The notification of the same is expected to bring the transit planning for the city under a single umbrella organization. The department is headed by S.Krishnan, IAS ( Principal Secretary to Government ) and reports to the Urban Development minister Thiru O.Panneerselvam.

Transport Related Stakeholders in Chennai

Currently, transportation in Chennai is fragmented across multiple organizations with diverse stakeholder ownership.


The various transport organizations involved in transport-related portfolios in Chennai are:

  • Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) – The city bus operator
  • Transport Department, Government of Tamilnadu – The state agency responsible for policy related matters in transport. This is headed by a secretary who is also the Chairman of MTC
  • Transport Commissionerate – Responsible for licensing via Regional Transport Offices (RTO’s)
  • Greater Chennai Corporation – Design and maintain streets in Chennai. Implementing Parking Management and Cycle Share Projects.
  • Highways Department – Design and maintain major roads in Chennai
  • Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) – A joint initiative of Government of India and Government of Tamilnadu – Owns and operates the metro rail in the city.
  • Suburban Rail System – Owned by Southern Railway and operates the 3 suburban lines in the city.
  • Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) – Owned jointly by CMDA and Southern Railway, operates the MRTS railways
  • Housing and Urban Development – Creates the housing and urban policy.
  • Tamilnadu Slum Clearance Board (TNSCB) – Responsible for housing and resettlement projects.
  • Chennai Smart City Projects – An Special Purpose vehicle under Greater Chennai Corporation implementing many street design projects.
  • Chennai Traffic Police – Organization involved in the enforcement of Traffic order in the City
  • Metro Water (CMWSSB) – Chennai Metro Water Supply and Sewerage Board who is responsible for water and sewage in Chennai. Their involvement is keen when redesigning roads.
  • Tamilnadu Electricity Departement – Organization supplying electricity to the city.
  • Telecom operators like Reliance Jio, Airtel, Vodafone, BSNL who have their service cables criss crossing the transport road infrastruture.

The formalization of CUMTA is expected to streamline planning and execution of urban transport projects.

Transport Projects that will have Advantage in Chennai

Some of the major projects that will get a huge advantage due to the formalization of CUMTA are:

  • CMRL Phase 2
  • Bus Rapid Transit System
  • Port Maduraivoyil Elevated Freight Corridor
  • OMR Elevated Corridor
  • GST Elevated Corridor
  • Smart City Projects
  • Vandalur and Madhavaram Bus Depots
  • Intelligent Traffic Management System Project (ITMS)
  • Depot Design and Management
  • Integrated Common Ticketing System
  • Bridges, Flyovers and Foot Over Bridges (FOB)

The National Government has already mandated for cities to have an integrated Transit Authority for cities. This is modeled along Transit authorities like Transport for London (TFL) and Land Transport Authority (LTA) in Singapore.

Organization Structure of CUMTA

CUMTA is headed by the Transport Minister. The role of Chief Executive Officer is performed by the Chief Planner of the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA). CUMTA is expected to representation from as many as 18 agencies, some of which are listed above.

  1. The Authority shall consist of the following members, namely:-
  2. Minister-in-charge of Transport, who shall be the Chairman, ex-officio;
  3. Chief Secretary to the Government, who shall be the Vice-Chairman, ex-officio;
  4. Vice-Chairman of the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority, who shall be the Vice-Chairman, ex-officio;
  5. Secretary to Government, Transport Department, ex-officio;
  6. Secretary to Government, Finance Department, ex-officio;
  7. Secretary to Government, Housing and Urban Development Department, ex-officio;
  8. Secretary to Government, Highways Department, ex-officio;
  9. Secretary to Government, Home Department, ex-officio;
  10. Secretary to Government, Municipal Administration and Water Supply
  11. Department, ex-officio;
  12. Commissioner of Police, Greater Chennai, ex-officio;
  13. Commissioner, Chennai City Municipal Corporation, ex-officio;
  14. Transport Commissioner, ex-officio;
  15. General Manager, Southern Railway, Chennai, ex-officio;
  16. Divisional Railway Manager, Chennai Division, Southern Railway, Chennai, ex-officio;
  17. Managing Director, Metropolitan Transport Corporation (Chennai) Limited, Chennai, ex-officio;
  18. Managing Director, Chennai Metro Rail Limited, Chennai, ex-officio;
  19. One eminent traffic and transportation expert nominated by the Government.
  20. The Authority may co-opt not more than three additional members in accordance with such procedure and terms and conditions as may be prescribed.
  21. When the Chairman of the Authority is unable to discharge the functions owing to absence, illness or any other cause, one of the two Vice-Chairmen, senior by rank, shall discharge the functions of the Chairman until the Chairman assumes charge of his functions.

Functions Roles and Responsibility of CUMTA

  1. The Authority shall oversee, coordinate, promote and monitor the implementation of various traffic and transportation measures including promoting the cause of public mass passenger transport systems and regulating their operations, besides implementation of certain traffic and transportation infrastructure of special nature in the Chennai Metropolitan Planning Area.
  2. The Authority shall act as a coordinating authority in the areas of transport.
  3. The Authority shall take decisions on matters that would impinge on transport in the Chennai Metropolitan Planning Area and oversee that no steps are initiated by any agencies or local bodies that detract from the overall efficiency of the Comprehensive Transportation Plan.
  4. The Authority shall prepare a Comprehensive Transportation Plan addressing the planning and development of all the public mass passenger transport modes and related infrastructure within the Master Plan in consultation with the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority and recommend for implementation of the same through the respective transport agencies.
  5. Update the Comprehensive Transportation Plan periodically in tune with the changes in the traffic and transportation situation in the Chennai Metropolitan Planning Area;
  6. Monitor, Co-ordinate and Evaluate the implementation of the Comprehensive Transportation Plan;
  7. Plan and implement traffic and transportation infrastructure of special nature;
  8. Regulate measures for the integration of all public mass passenger transport modes by means of various measures including routing and scheduling, operating feeder services and combined or common ticketing to facilitate seamless commuting options to the public;
  9. Regulate measures aimed at enhancing the equity and efficiency of each of the mass passenger transport modes and para-transit modes to serve the commuting needs of the Chennai Metropolitan Planning Area;
  10. Regulate route plan for the mass passenger transport modes and paratransit modes based on the periodical review of routes;
  11. Determine fares for mass passenger transport modes and para-transit
    modes with the approval of the Government;
  12. Facilitate, debate and discuss the innovative methods and practices and recommend measures for the implementation of such methods and practices;
  13. Commission studies and research needed to improve the performance or efficiency of the mass passenger transport modes and para-transit modes and maintain a data base;
  14. Make recommendations to the Central Government in regard to the
    Railways and National Highways, wherever necessary, for improving transport system;
  15. Regulate the measures that would help to reduce the incidence of accident and other matters relating to safety, including the standards for construction, maintenance and subsequent road safety audit by various civic agencies;
  16. Manage a road safety cell;
  17. Secure compliance of inter-agency requests and resolve differences that come up between such agencies;
  18. Regulate measures to integrate and consolidate any other action plan of the line agencies which fall outside the Comprehensive Transportation Plan but relating to mass passenger transport modes and related infrastructure in the Chennai Metropolitan Planning Area and facilitate implementation of the same;
  19. Prepare annual budgets and recommend the same to the Government to apportion funds accordingly to the line-agencies for implementation of Comprehensive Transportation Plan;
  20. Perform such other functions as may be entrusted to it by the Government in regard to the planning of the mass passenger transport system.
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