Metropolitan Transport Corporation (Chennai)

The Metropolitan Transport Corporation (formerly known as Pallavan Transport Corporation), sometimes known as the MTC or PTC, is the agency that operates the public bus service in Chennai, India. As of May 2017, the MTC had a scheduled fleet of 3688 buses and total fleet strength of 3968 buses, on a daily basis carries 6.0 million passengers to and from, which is half the population of Chennai. On 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).[1] MTC has a total of 830 routes with its largest terminus being Broadway in Central Chennai.

Metropolitan Transport Corporation (Chennai) Limited
ParentTamil Nadu State Transport Corporation
HeadquartersPallavan House, Anna Salai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
LocaleChennai, Tamil Nadu
Service areaChennai Metropolitan Area
Service typeNormal, Express, Deluxe, Air Conditioned Deluxe and Small Bus
Daily ridership6.0 million/day
OperatorGovernment of Tamil Nadu
Heatmap of the coverage of public transportation in Chennai City


Metropolitan Transport Corporation (Chennai - Division 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.[2] 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 - I) 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.[3] The driver strength at MTC is 5,000 as against a required driver strength of 5,800.[4]

Increase Over the Years[2]
1972 2020
Depots 8 33
Fleet 1,029 4,599
Scheduled Services 892 5,099
Route 209 895
Employees 20,159 24,202
Passenger/day 2.2 million 5.8 million
Collection/day र0.4 million र26.1 million
Occupancy ratio NA 71.42%


The total size of fleet of the MTC is 3688, of which 3492 buses are operated every day on an average. MTC operates over 5000 services daily covering about 830 routes. The last time buses were added to the fleet was in January 2020.[5]

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 on 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.

Deluxe bus from Ashok Leyland
An ordinary fare (white board) bus
MTC's Tata Marcopolo Bus
New vestibule bus with LED display
An MTC AC Volvo Service
A MTC SLF plying route 21G

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. Some continue to ply while most of them are replaced by newer buses

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. Around the end of 2017, some of these buses are condemned and no longer in service.

Air-conditioned buses MTC runs low-floor Volvo B7RLE air conditioned buses on selected routes. There were 100 of these buses running on select routes at regular intervals when they were introduced. Currently all buses are scrapped owing to poor and higher cost of maintenance, and replaced in favor of newer Ashok Leyland buses.

Small buses MTC has launched small bus services to connect remote places of Chennai and its suburbs. These buses are provided by Tata.

MTC Fleet Over the Years[6]
Year No. of buses on road No. of buses off-road Total
2007-2008 2,344 287 2,631
2008-2009 2,792 370 3,162
2009-2010 2,958 327 3,285
2010-2011 3,007 355 3,362
2011-2012 3,034 374 3,408
2012-2013 3,027 356 3,383
2016-2017 3,797 167 3,964
2017-2018 4,091 182 4273
2018-2019 5,092 194 5286


The Metropolitan Transport Corporation has 34 depots, each with an average parking capacity of 200 buses.

The 34 depots of the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (as of 2018) are listed below:

MTC Depots
Depot Depot code Old code Region Fleet strength Scheduled services
Adambakkam AB NIL Chromepet 55 51
Adyar AD B Adyar 146 135
Alandur AL K Chromepet 148 135
Ambathur AM E Ayanavaram 191 179
Anna Nagar AN H Ayanavaram 243 208
Avadi AV X Ayanavaram 159 151
Ayanavaram AY C Ayanavaram 173 160
Basin Bridge BB NIL Tondiarpet 45 41
Besant Nagar BN NIL Adyar 30 28
Central Depot CD NIL Adyar 178 165
Chromepet - I CR W Chromepet 170 159
Chromepet - II CW NIL Chromepet 58 54
Ennore EN K Tondiarpet 73 70
Iyyappanthangal IY Y Chromepet 153 144
Kannagi Nagar KA NIL Adyar 20 19
K.K.Nagar KN G Chromepet 195 182
Kundrathur KU NIL Chromepet 34 32
Madhavaram MV F Tondiarpet 112 107
Mandavelli MN J Adyar 90 84
MKB Nagar MB NIL Tondiarpet 33 29
Padiyanallur PL NIL Tondiarpet 65 60
Perambur PR S Ayanavaram 170 157
Perumbakkam PA NIL Adyar 58 58
Poonamallee PM V,Z Ayanavaram 182 171
Saidapet SP M Adyar 103 96
Semmencherry SM NIL Adyar 24 22
Tambaram TA O Chromepet 202 189
T.Nagar TN L Adyar 95 89
Thiruvanmiyur TR R Adyar 140 135
Thiruvottriyur TV N Tondiarpet 104 99
Tondiarpet - I TD A Tondiarpet 142 134
Tondiarpet - II TW T Tondiarpet 83 78
Vadapalani VP D Chromepet 205 194
Vyasarpadi VY P Tondiarpet 111 104
Total 3,886 3,719


As of 2012, MTC's advertisement revenue per month is 86 lakhs.[7] 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.[8]

As of 17 Apr 2013 The total revenue per day of all the buses is 2.75 cr [9]


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.[10][11]

Connectivity with MRTS and airportEdit

The MTC services are not integrated with the Mass Rapid Transit System.[12] Some of the MRTS stations are located away from bus stops which makes transfers difficult.[13][14] 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.[15]


The accident rate of MTC is high compared to similar metropolitan transport corporations in the country.[16] In Chennai, 104 people died in 2012 in accidents involving MTC buses. The driver unions are blamed for violations going unpunished and continuing unabated.[17][18][19]

People killed in accidents involving MTC buses
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2016 2017 2018 2019
142 145 138 132 112 104 98 94 35 24 120
Accidents over the years[19]
Year Fatal Non-fatal
2009 109 384
2010 106 351
2011 112 436
2012 103 351
2013 62 215
2016 61 214
2017 35 516
2018 24 401
2019 120 432

To mitigate the no. of accidents, officials of the corporation and the traffic police conduct refresher courses and yoga classes for MTC drivers.[17][20][21]


There have complaints about operator behavior[22] on MTC buses and these have been effectively addressed by the administration by having special counseling and yoga sessions for the workers.[23][23][24] The entrances to most buses have at least two steps. This poses difficulty for some passengers to alight or board the buses.[25] Some of the bus stations are poorly maintained.[26]

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.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "About Us". Metropolitan Transport Corporation. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
  2. ^ a b "The Growth - MTC". Chennai: The Times Group. 11 December 2017.
  3. ^ "சென்னையில் கூடுதலாக 16 புதிய பணிமனைகள்: அமைச்சர் செந்தில் பாலாஜி நேரில் ஆய்வு". Maalai Malar (in Tamil). Chennai. 11 July 2012. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
  4. ^ Narayanan, Vivek (14 July 2012). "Beware, bus drivers on the edge". The Hindu. Chennai. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
  5. ^ Srikanth, R. (20 March 2019). "MTC cuts old bus routes to start new ones to suburbs". The Hindu (Print edition). Chennai: The Hindu. p. 3. Retrieved 28 July 2018.
  6. ^ Philip, Christin Mathew (20 March 2019). "Buses disemboweled, Left to Rust". The Times of India (e-paper). Chennai: The Times Group. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  7. ^ "MTC buses to get LCD monitors". The Hindu. Chennai. 10 August 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  8. ^ Hemalatha, Karthikeyan (6 November 2012). "MTC plans to barter ad space for cleaning buses". The Times of India. Chennai: The Times Group. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ Karthikeyan Hemalatha (23 February 2013). "Chennai buses burst at seams". The Times of India, Chennai. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
  11. ^ Karthikeyan Hemalatha (16 October 2013). "HARD RIDE FOR AGED IN CITY". The Times of India, Chennai. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
  12. ^ Sreevatsan, Ajai (16 August 2011). "MRTS lessons worth learning". The Hindu. Chennai. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
  13. ^ Liffy Thomas and T.Madhavan (5 October 2013). "Train stations, a road too far". The Hindu, Chennai. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  14. ^ G Ananthakrishnan (23 September 2013). "Not all together here". The Hindu, Chennai. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  15. ^ Sunitha Sekar (3 June 2013). "For passengers, it's a long walk from airport to bus stop". The Hindu. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  16. ^ Karthikeyan Hemalatha (30 November 2013). "No stopping MTC killing spree". The Times of India, Chennai. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  17. ^ a b Karthikeyan Hemalatha (2 July 2012). "Despite fewer buses, MTC's death rate overtakes other fleets". The Times of India, Chennai.
  18. ^ "Driver of bus that fell off Anna flyover dismissed by MTC". The Times of India. Chennai: The Times Group. 25 October 2012. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
  19. ^ a b Jebakumar, R. Prince (29 July 2013). "MTC buses kill over a 100 every year". The New Indian Express. Chennai: Express Publications.
  20. ^ N Vinoth Kumar (1 August 2013). "Stressed into breaking the rules, say MTC drivers". The New Indian Express, Chennai. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  21. ^ Karthikeyan Hemalatha (12 December 2012). "Crowded buses kill as MTC uses few in fleet". The Times of India, Chennai. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
  22. ^ MTC drivers: a law unto themselves? (30 July 2013). "MTC drivers: a law unto themselves?". The New Indian Express, Chennai. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  23. ^ a b Christin Mathew Philip (18 October 2013). "Drivers rude, MTC officials admit after 2,000 complaints". The Times of India, Chennai. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  24. ^ Rajagopalan Venkataraman (31 July 2013). "Bus-stop, an oxymoron for MTC drivers?". The New Indian Express, Chennai. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  25. ^ M Ramya & Karthikeyan Hemalatha (12 December 2012). "The Hanging danger". The Times of India, Chennai. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
  26. ^ Adarsh Jain (22 December 2013). "Broadway MTC terminus now a stinking problem". The Times of India, Chennai. Retrieved 22 December 2013.

External linksEdit