Chennai Metro Land survey begins for 2nd phase of metro rail project

Metro Rail News: Though the second phase of the city metro rail project is still awaiting Centre’s approval, Chennai Metro Rail has begun field surveys and has initiated talks with the revenue officials in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur district to acquire lands for building the metro lines. The 108.4 km phase-2 project will connect several parts of the city suburban areas including Madhavaram and the IT corridor along Old Mahabalipuram Road.

The Rs 44,000 crore project will have three corridors running across the length and breadth of the city connected by 104 stations. Survey along the corridors to map land and buildings on the alignment route have begun, a metro rail official said. Land that may be temporarily required for construction of lines are also being considered. “This will make it easy when the notices are issued to the land and building owners for acquisition,” the official said.

The  Rs 44,000 crore phase-2 project will have three corridors running across the length and breadth of the city connected by 104 stations.

While the project, which will cover more than double the distance covered by the two corridors of phase-1 corridors, is awaiting approval from the Centre, CMRL has also appraised a team of officials of Japan International Cooperation Agency for funding of the project. “We are expecting to sign an agreement with JICA by March or April 2018. By that time, procurement process will also start,” said S Krishnan, principal secretary , planning, development and special initiatives, recently .

CMRL has kick started work for the second phase even as the construction of the 45km phase-1of the project is nearing completion. They began preliminary work for acquiring lands before they received approval for the phase-1 extension project that is being built to North Chennai with the rest of the city .

CMRL officials are also simultaneously holding meetings with the district revenue officials of Chennai, Kanchipuram and Thiruvallur , where the metro corridors are planned for the phase, to oversee the survey and eventual acquisition of land which will include issuance of notices to land and building owners and handling documents for the actual acquisition. “We are waiting for the detailed project report to be approved to start land acquisition process,” said an official with the district administration.

An official said a proposal has also been sent to the state to recruit more people capable of handling the land acquisition process as they would be dealing with the acquisition of more area of land than in phase-1 before they begin the actual construction.

Source: Metro Rail News

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San Joaquin regional transit district opens first 100% electric, zero-emissions bus rapid transit route in the U.S.

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Stockton, California – San Joaquin Regional Transit District (RTD) will convert its existing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Express Route 44 to 100 percent battery-electric, zero-emissions buses in August.  That BRT route will be the first in the U.S. to feature all-electric bus service.   The BRT buses were designed and built by California-based Proterra, a leading innovator in heavy-duty battery-electric transportation.

At the time of the conversion, Route 44 will be extended to serve passengers from the Downtown Transit Center (DTC) in Central Stockton to as far south as Qantas Lane near Arch-Airport Road.  The change will enable people who work or study at locations such as PG&E, Dorfman Pacific, Venture Academy, San Joaquin County Office of Education, and the Economic Development Department Qantas Lane office, to commute rapidly and economically.

“We at RTD are proud of our history of commitment to clean energy initiatives,” said Donna DeMartino, RTD’s CEO.  “With the nation’s first all-electric BRT route, RTD and Stockton are now leading the charge in providing safe, efficient, reliable, and exceptionally clean transportation to people who live and work in south Stockton.”

The benefits of using electric buses include:

  • Cleaner air
  • Quieter operation
  • Reduced maintenance cost

Electric buses can travel up to 40 miles or 2 hours on a charge.  The RTD charging stations take about 10 minutes to completely recharge a bus.

The price of each bus is approximately $850,000.  RTD received grant funding to cover the cost of the new electric buses.

RTD will launch a second all-electric BRT route in January 2018 along the MLK corridor in South Stockton.  That route will connect with RTD’s existing three BRT corridors.

BRT routes move passengers to desired destinations faster than other types of bus routes.

In further support of RTD’s commitment to its clean air initiatives, RTD’s Board of Directors passed an official resolution to declare its intent to convert to 100 percent electric, zero emission buses for all routes serving the City of Stockton by 2025.

About San Joaquin Regional Transit District:
RTD’s mission is to provide a safe, reliable, and efficient transportation system for the region.

About Proterra:
Proterra is a leader in the design and manufacture of zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles, enabling bus fleet operators to significantly reduce operating costs while delivering clean, quiet transportation to local communities across the United States. With more than 400 vehicles sold to 41 different municipal, university, airport and commercial transit agencies in 20 states, Proterra is committed to providing state of the art, high-performance vehicles to meet today’s growing market demand. The company’s configurable Catalyst platform is capable of serving the full daily mileage needs of the toughest transit routes on a single charge. With unmatched durability and energy efficiency based on rigorous U.S. certification testing, Proterra products are proudly designed, engineered and manufactured in America, with offices in Silicon Valley, South Carolina, and Los Angeles.

Via: Proterra

National Geographic Grows Travel Business

Expansion includes new travel platforms, television programming, and strategic new hires

Print

WASHINGTON, April 26, 2017, Coming off a record 2016 and posting double-digit growth into 2017, National Geographic Travel announces additional global expansion plans for Europe and Asia and broadens its portfolio of travel-related media offerings. The expansion includes the launch of a weekly two-hour travel programming block, the appointment of new executives, a special luxury edition of National Geographic Traveler magazine, and the development of the new National Geographic Travel Lab.

“National Geographic is leveraging the unique power of our brand to reinvigorate and reinvent our ancillary businesses, and our Travel business is a key piece of that,” said Declan Moore, National Geographic Partners CEO. “Furthering the knowledge and understanding of our world is, and always has been, at National Geographic’s core and we believe travel is essential to advancing that mission.  For more than a century we have been showing our audience the wonders of the planet and through our travel offerings, we can also take them there.”

National Geographic Travel’s international growth and development continues with the appointment of Nathan Philpot. Philpot, who has extensive experience in the travel industry, has been named Director, National Geographic Expeditions Europe & Africa and is charged in part with developing and launching the branded consumer travel experiences across Europe and Africa.

Within the Expeditions business, National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World continues to grow since launching in January 2015 with 24 charter members. The collection is now up to 55 properties in remarkable destinations around the world, spanning 30 countries and 6 continents. They recently released their first Sustainable Tourism Impact Report, showcasing sustainable tourism in action among their members.

In travel media, National Geographic is strengthening its Travel franchise with the launch of National Geographic Traveler magazine’s first-ever luxury edition, which will be distributed next month to a targeted circulation of 350,000 National Geographic subscribers. The special edition will feature content relevant to the affluent traveler, including luxury hotels, fine dining, and bespoke travel experiences.

Additionally, Andrew Nelson has been tapped to lead a newly formed NG Travel Lab, which will serve as a one-stop shop for custom content creation, distribution and marketing. The team will provide creative client solutions across multiple platforms, from ideation to execution, spanning digital, social, video and print platforms while working with our regional labs in Latin America, Europe and Asia.

Television programming will also reflect National Geographic’s emphasis on travel, with a dedicated travel block starting in July. The two-hour programming section will run every Thursday from 6 to 8:00 PM ET.

National Geographic Partners LLC
National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between National Geographic and 21st Century Fox, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivaled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 129 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching over 730 million people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education.

Via: PR Newswire

 

UberHIRE: Many Destinations, One Uber

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Uber India press release:

When we set out, Uber was designed to be an efficient and affordable way to get from point A to point B, almost anywhere in the world. Yet, India isn’t just anywhere in the world – it’s a world in itself, with a culture that is unique and diverse. Think festival shopping, family get-togethers, big fat weddings or back to back business meetings, we are always on the go.

That’s why riders have always asked us if they could hold onto their Ubers while they are out and about — and that’s why we’re launching UberHIRE: an Uber that takes care of all your travel needs for the day.

UberHIRE is a time-based Uber that’s available on-demand, to let you explore and travel around cities knowing that your Uber will wait for you. It’s perfect for travellers exploring a new city, senior citizens who need to make trips punctuated with multiple stop overs, or for business travellers who have multiple meetings – while ensuring it is an economical option for everyone.

After a successful pilot run in Kochi, starting today, UberHIRE will go live in New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Vizag and Nagpur, with more cities slated for launch in the weeks to come.

HOW IT WORKS:

  1. Open your Uber app and slide over to UberHIRE
  2. Set your pickup location and request your ride
  3. Your Uber will be at your service. You will see your driver’s details straight away, along with the details of your car
  4. At the end of your trip, your total fare is calculated based on the distance and duration of your trip. You can pay in cash and receive an e-receipt

PLEASE NOTE: CURRENTLY, UBERHIRE WORKS ONLY ON CASH PAYMENTS


UberHIRE is going live in the following cities. Read on to find out more about UberHIRE in your city:

Ahmedabad

Bangalore

Chennai

Mumbai

Nagpur

New Delhi

Kochi

Pune

Visakhapatnam

Newsroom Uber

6 Indian Railway Stations With Stories to Tell. Must Visit places for all the Curious Travelers

UNESCO World Heritage Structures, Spectacular Architectures, Colonial Landmarks, Stunning Art Works, Beautiful Gardens, Haunted Hill Top Station, Largest Station Complex of India, Oldest Operational Station, …. Each Station has its own story. Must visit places for a curious traveler.

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Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai. Photo: Joe Ravi via Wikimedia Commons

1. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Maharashtra

Without a doubt CST is Mumbai city’s busiest railway station. But the metropolitan city’s transport hub is also a UNESCO World Heritage structure and one of the best examples of Gothic Revival architecture in India. Gargoyles jut out of the high walls of this 19th-century masterpiece; they often spout water from their mouths during the monsoon. A high-arched ceiling painted with golden stars covers the ticket counter, while statues and carvings of peacocks, tigers, and other wildlife cover walls and crevices. An octagonal ribbed dome atop the structure is its crowning glory. Known as Victoria Terminus until 1996, CST is an arterial city station, one which took almost a decade to build.

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Charbagh Railway Station, Lucknow. Photo: Mohit via Wikimedia Commons

2. Charbagh Railway Station, Uttar Pradesh

The city of nawabs welcomes passengers in style at the splendid red-and-white Charbagh Railway Station. Built in 1914, the sprawling structure blends Mughal and Rajasthani architecture, and overlooks a huge garden located outside its front entrance. It was here, under the station’s cupola-studded structure, that Jawaharlal Nehru is said to have first met Mahatma Gandhi in 1916. In aerial views, the structure with its small and large domes resembles a chessboard laid out with pieces.

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Painted by the artists of Ranthambore School of Art, Sawai Modhapur, Rajasthan. Photo: The Better India

3. Sawai Madhopur Railway Station, Rajasthan

When passengers alight at Sawai Madhopur station, gateway to Rajasthan’s Ranthambore National Park, they’re struck by the bright murals that adorn its walls. There is a giant painting of a banyan tree that covers the entire ceiling of a central hall. It is modelled after a real tree inside the national park, one of the largest in India. A number of forest dwellers inhabit its branches. Paintings of tigers, flocks of birds, and sloth bears cover platform walls and pillars of the small station, offering a colourful peek into life in the jungle. Painted by the artists from the Ranthambore School of Art, the spectacular murals capture the hearts of all who visit this National Tourism Award-winning station.

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The Beautiful Barog Railway Station. Photo: Mridula Dwivedi via Travel Tales from India

4. Barog Railway Station, Himachal Pradesh

This little railway station on the Kalka Shimla Railway, part of a UNESCO World Heritage list, has a colourful history. Built in 1903 by a Colonel Barog, it has Scottish-style gabled roofs and is surrounded by stunning mountain views. The station lies at the mouth of a tunnel which the army man had also commissioned. He went about it in an unusual way, starting excavations at both ends with the intention of meeting in the middle. A miscalculation prevented that from happening, and the disappointed colonel shot himself inside the incomplete tunnel and was buried near it. Not surprisingly, tales of ghosts have haunted the station ever since. A new tunnel was later completed with the help of a local holy man called Baba Bhalku. Today, the station and the tunnel are popular stops on this heritage route.

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Started in June 1865, Royapuram Sation is the oldest operational railway station in India. Photo: RailNews

5. Royapuram Railway Station, Tamil Nadu

The very first train to run in South India rolled out of Chennai’s Royapuram station in the monsoon of 1856 and travelled to the town of Arcot in Vellore district. Royapuram was southern India’s first station, in what was then known as the Madras Presidency. The original structure still stands today, making it the oldest functional railway station in the country. The simple red-and white colonial building with grand Corinthian pillars is a heritage structure. The station underwent extensive restoration in 2005.

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With 23 platforms, Howrah Junction Railway Station is the Largest Railway Complex of India. Photo: Lovedimpy via Wikimedia Commons

6. Howrah Junction, West Bengal

With a mind boggling 23 platforms, this is one of the busiest stations in India. A melee of bookshops, tea stalls, and fastfood stands provide succour to passengers. This is one of the oldest stations in India, and the first train from Howrah ran on 15 August 1854, to Hooghly. It was the proverbial feather in the cap for British engineers, representing a new era in the colonial dream of expansion. Located on the banks of the Hooghly River, with the Howrah bridge leading up to its cherry-red facade, the station has starred in many a poster shot promoting the state. Its architecture is a mix of Romanesque and traditional Bengali styles, very much in sync with its surroundings.

Total 274 passenger trains Start/End/Pass through Howrah Railway Station. Total 1219 Stations are directly connected to Howrah Railway Station via these 274 passenger trains. Its twenty-three platforms handle over six hundred trains each day, serving more than a million passengers, making it the one of the busiest railway platforms in India . It is served by two zones of the Indian Railways: Eastern Railway and South Eastern Railway.

– Natgeotraveller India (Appeared in October 2016 as “Whistle Stop”.)

MakeMyTrip to acquire ibibo Group

Two leading travel groups in India, MakeMyTrip Limited and ibibo Group (owned by global technology group Naspers Limited, have agreed to pursue a transaction that will combine the two businesses under MMYT, creating one of the leading travel groups in India that provides a one stop shop for all Indian travelers and serves as a critical partner for travel industry suppliers.

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The combination will bring together a bouquet of leading consumer travel brands, including MakeMyTrip, goibibo, redBus, Ryde and Rightstay, which together processed 34.1 mm transactions during FY2016.

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The transaction is expected to unlock value for customers, supply partners and shareholders, by combining the complementary strengths of each business. MakeMyTrip brings its strong brand, robust mix of domestic and outbound hotels and packages business and strong position in the air ticketing business. ibibo Group, via its brand goibibo and redBus, comes with a strong presence in various fast growing travel segments including hotels, bus bookings and air ticketing.

Following the closing of the proposed transaction, Founder Deep Kalra will remain Group CEO and Executive Chairman of MakeMyTrip and Co­founder Rajesh Magow will continue to remain CEO India of MakeMyTrip. Founder and CEO of ibibo Group, Ashish Kashyap, will join MakeMyTrip’s executive team as a Co­founder and President of the organization.

Deep Kalra, Chairman and Group CEO of MakeMyTrip, said: “Today’s announcement is a significant step forward for the rapidly growing travel industry in India. We expect this deal to create an even more scalable business with the expertise to transform the booking experience for Indian travelers. I am delighted to be leading such a strong team in our next chapter of high­growth in this dynamic industry.”

Rajesh Magow, co­founder and CEO India of MakeMyTrip added: “We welcome the ibibo team to the newly expanded MakeMyTrip family. The combination of these two enterprises, with their deep understanding of customer preferences, will help us provide an even stronger value proposition to our users and offer further career growth opportunities for all employees”

Ashish Kashyap, CEO ibibo Group, said: “Since I founded ibibo in 2007, we have innovated and grown to become one of the leading travel companies in India, providing solutions not just for travelers, but for suppliers too. Deep, Rajesh and I saw a great opportunity to join forces, and I am excited that this merger enables all of us to continue a great journey together as the leading travel group in India.”

According to Bob van Dijk, CEO Naspers: “India is a key market for Naspers, and this deal reinforces our commitment to the country. ibibo and MakeMyTrip have built leading companies through their innovative use of technology to create exceptional experiences for people traveling throughout India and, increasingly, beyond. Today’s announcement underlines the continued ambition of Deep, Rajesh and Ashish and their teams, and I look forward to seeing the future success of this new and even stronger business.”

Naspers and Tencent, through their jointly owned holding company (91% owned by Naspers and 9% owned by Tencent), are selling ibibo Group to MakeMyTrip in exchange for an issuance of new shares by MakeMyTrip. Upon closing of the transaction, MakeMyTrip will own 100% of ibibo Group. Naspers and Tencent will become the single largest shareholder in MakeMyTrip, owning a 40% stake, and will contribute proportionate working capital upon closing.


Also read

GoIbibo to launch ‘goCars’ an inter-city ridesharing service


Additionally, prior to closing , the US$180 million, 5­year convertible notes issued by MakeMyTrip Limited to Ctrip.com International, Ltd. (“Ctrip”) in January 2016 will also be converted into common equity, resulting in Ctrip having an approximately 10% stake in the combined entity.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of December 2016 and is subject to approval by MakeMyTrip shareholders and regulatory approvals.

Morgan Stanley is acting as exclusive financial advisor to MakeMyTrip and has also provided a fairness opinion to the Board of MakeMyTrip. Latham and Watkins, S&R Associates and Appleby are acting as legal advisors to MakeMyTrip. Goldman Sachs is acting as exclusive financial advisor to ibibo and Naspers, while Cravath, Swaine & Moore, Trilegal and BLC Roberts are acting as legal advisors.

Source: The Economic Times

Meghalaya – Create your own Jungle Book Stories — Tripoto

Meghalaya – The foothills of Himalayas, people also call it the Abode of Clouds. After I finished my trip to Darjeeling – Sikkim, it was the time to move to Guwahati. I reached Jalpaigudi again to catch an overnight train so that I reach Guwahati in the morning. In Darjeeling – Sikkim, every time whenever I used to tell someone that my next destination is Meghalaya. They used to warn me saying “Are you sure, you want to go there alone? Do you know that those areas are famous for Naxalites? & I used to just listen to their horrifying incidents which had happened in the past.

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I was at Jalpaigudi station, but thinking whether I should go there or not. Whenever I travel solo, my safety is my 1st priority as I can see my parents face in front of me every time I make any decision. However this time, I kept my hopes & positivity alive in my heart. Without thinking much, I took a train to Guwahati. When you’re not sure about some place then you don’t feel happy from inside. The same thing was happening to me till the time I reached Shillong – The capital town of Meghalaya. Again I took a shared Sumo from Guwahati to Shillong. On the way, I could see a different culture; it looked like as if everything from costume to language, from food to house structure has taken a 360 degree turn altogether. I was searching for some Naxalites in those dense forests as there was just naxalites word floating in my mind that time. I couldn’t think of anything else.

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Shillong Peak

My eyes were experiencing something which they had not seen before. I felt like, I am entering into Mowgli’s Jungle book stories. Suddenly all my wrong thoughts disappeared when I reached Shillong. As soon as I reached my guest house, I laid down like a dead body on the bed. Then I went to my window & what I see, a beautiful street with Vintage Street lights covered with colorful flowers. The manager of the hotel told me that there are no issues of Naxalities in Khasi hills as they are based in Garo hills. Main tourist attraction is located in Khassi hills of Meghalaya & you’re surrounded by the best people. I immediately called the taxi driver who has dropped me till my guest house. Whenever I plan sightseeing tour, I only prefer going to few places out of so many places. Usually every tourist place has its big list of places with overpriced rate card. However I only opted for elephant falls & Shillong peak point. Taxi driver charged me 600/- for those 2 places, I agreed also as what else I will do if I will try to save money. My taxi driver was a Khassi. This community is in the majority in Meghalaya. They’re similar to catholic community I feel. Throughout the journey, he only talked as I was just enjoying the serenity at its best. As soon as I reached Shillong peak, it was extremely crowed but the whole view was heavenly beautiful therefore the crowd didn’t bother me much. Shillong peak is located near the Ariforce quarters so you need to submit your residential proof before entering & photography is prohibited till the time you cross the Ariforce area. From there, Elephant falls is another half & hour journey. I must say, Elephant falls could be the best place in Shillong if it remains less crowed. You can’t do anything about the crowd so even I enjoyed my own time & photography. Recently Narendra Modi Ji has visited Elephant falls so you can see his picture as well at the entrance. After wandering, I came back to the guest house again.

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As soon as I reached my guesthouse, the manager told me that there is one girl who would like to go to Mawlynnong & Dawki. I was lucky to meet a girl from Bangalore as I again got someone to explore the place. In one day only we both had become a good friend as even she was solo female traveler. Next day, early morning we both started with Mawlynnong & Dawki. We first decided to go to Dawki to explore Umngot River which remains transparent during winter season. We were lucky as we didn’t face heavy rainfall however on the way to Dawki, it started raining heavily & our dream of experiencing the transparent river died at the same moment. So we decided to first take a move to Mawlynnong – Asia’s cleanest village. As soon as we reached, I took my umbrella & ran towards a small place where Mawlynnong ladies were serving delicious food. I saw only women at the canteen, as I had mentioned earlier also, Khassi community is a kind of community where women are being treated as head of the family. They work whereas men take care of the Family in most of the cases. Their younger daughter is eligible for half property in the family & younger daughter’s husband is expected to stay at her place to take care of her parents. The villagers of Mawlynnong collect 50/- from each visitor to maintain the cleanliness of the village. Mawlynnong village looks like a garden where they have made small wooden huts. It’s so beautiful & clean, you feel like you’re visiting some foreign place. We went on to see single Decker living root bridge which is located nearby itself. You can explore tree houses as well at the same place. After exploring this green village, we moved on to see Dawki & Umngot River. We saw Indo – Bangladesh border where you can even click the picture at the check post because of the friendly boding we share with Bangladesh.

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Mawlynnong Village

We saw two beautiful waterfalls on our way to Dawki. Finally we reached Umngot River & started with our boat ride. I personally never felt so good before at any place as it was purely the green water, me & the wooden boat. Yes, the river has become muddy because of the rain but it was clean & peaceful. The best memories of my Meghalaya tour I would say.

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Umngot River – Dawki

The journey from Guwahati – Shillong – Cherrapunji – Mawlynnong – Dawki was a treasure hunt as every time it gave me a pleasant surprise with its beautiful sceneries. It’s raw, unusual & one of the best states of North – east India.

Do watch the Video which I documented & edited for my Meghalaya tour. Like it & subscribe it for more.

Reblogged from Meghalaya – Create your own Jungle Book Stories — Tripoto

Originally authored by Preeti