Following the Singapore model, Chennai will soon have an Integrated Ticketing System (ITS) that will provide a single ticketing system to be used across all operators in Chennai Metropolitan Area. This will help commuters in easy transit during the switchover from one transport system to another. Presently in Chennai, Public Transport services (bus, metro and MRTS/sub-urban) are provided by three different agencies.

P Ramya, a resident of Perungudi, is happy with the integrated ticketing system as she need not have three different passes to use while going to work at Ambattur Industrial Estate. She takes the MRTS, then the Metro, and bus service in the final leg of her travel to work, and the reverse mode of transport while heading back home. “It is a boon for me. Often, I lose one of the three passes,” she said.

Cumta issues RFP

The Chennai Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (Cumta) recently issued a RFP (Request for Proposal) calling private players to develop a Mobile Application for Multi-Modal Journey Planner and QR based Unified Ticketing tender. It is a Unified Metropolitan Transport Agency for better coordination, streamlining activities, and resource optimisation. Introducing Combined Ticketing in Chennai Metropolitan Area is one among the several mandates of the Authority.

Urban buses are operated and managed by Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC); the Metro Rail services by Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) and the Regional Mass

Rapid Transit and sub-urban by the Southern Railways. These agencies/operators adopt their own fare calculation rules and ticketing methodology.

MTC has a fleet strength of 3,454 buses operating in 621 routes. The services operated by MTC are classified into Ordinary, Express, Deluxe and Air Conditioned. Average patronage of MTC per day is 34.49 lakh. Fares of MTC buses vary from ₹5 – ₹70 depending upon the service.

The average patronage of MTC per day in FY23 was 11.84 lakh; average revenue per day was ₹1.61 crore and average price of a ticket per day was ₹13.62..

GPS in buses

Presently ticketing in the MTC buses are happening through a physical ticket. It plans to procure Electronic Ticketing Machines. Global Positioning Systems are also proposed to be installed in all the buses.

The Metro is presently having an average patronage of 2,50,000 passengers per day. The fare structure varies from ₹10 to ₹50 and average is ₹30. The system is a fully controlled one where access to the platform is through an Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) system.

In the Metro system, entry is ensured only after an interface of closed loop or open loop card/tokens/QR based physical Ticketing/QR Based digital tickets. On an average, 30,260 tickets per day are booked using digital platforms that use QR-based and WhatsApp-based ticketing. Daily revenue from the digital ticket was ₹9.07 lakh.


The sub-urban connects major nodes such as Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, Arakkonam, Tirutani, Velachery and Gummidipondi in the Chennai Metropolitan Area with the Chennai city. Every day on an average around 9.27 lakh passengers are travelling in this system. The suburban rail system of Chennai is an uncontrolled system where access entry and exit are not controlled. However, the ticket checking squad/TTEs randomly check the passengers for valid tickets.

The integrated ticketing platform will facilitate the combination of transport modes and the transfer between them by making the ticketing system as easy and attractive as possible; promote a greater use of public transport and reduce administrative costs and responsibility of public transport operators with respect to fare collection.

In future, it will provide facilities for passengers to book first and last mile travel through cabs and autorickshaws via aggregators, the RFP said.