CHENNAI: The state government on Thursday announced a slew of measures to improve transport facilities in the city, including issuing more autorickshaw permits and deploying a fleet of minibuses to connect residential colonies with bus stands and commercial hubs.Transport minister KN Nehru said in the assembly that the restriction on issuing auto permits was being lifted across the state. With this, the number of autorickshaws in the city is expected to go up substantially from the present 52,000.Justifying the decision, Nehru said even cities smaller than Chennai had more autorickshaws. For example, Bangalore had 78,000 such vehicles and Hyderabad 64,000. Noting that the decision was taken by chief minister M Karunanidhi, Nehru said it would go a long way in bringing down auto fares in the city, where drivers refuse to stick to meters.

With a view to connecting residential colonies in different parts of the city with bus stands, railway stations, commercial hubs and other vantage points, the state transport corporation would introduce mini-buses. Anna University had been entrusted with the task of preparing a detailed report to assess the feasibility of the scheme as well as to suggest routes, Nehru said.

The government also hiked road tax for private fourwheelers. As against a uniform 8% tax applicable now, the government announced 10% tax for private vehicles costing below Rs 10 lakh and 15% for those costing above Rs 10 lakh. The hike would be effective from June 1, 2010.

The city has a lesser number of autos as compared to other metros in the country
Chennai: 52,000
Hyderabad: 64,000
Bangalore: 78,000

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