News Roads

Local trains to decongest roads

By Melvin Mathew

With increasing traffic congestion in the city and waterlogging that is a growing occurrence, the spotlight is now on local train services interconnecting primary locations and around Bengaluru. Citizens highlight that building a service network with existing infrastructure is a pragmatic choice but railways services need to become timelier and more reliable.

While the Metro might take a few years to link different parts of the city, commuters are placing their faith in railways now. By providing commuter train services within Bengaluru, it could vastly reduce the transport burden for many commuters.

“When the roads are bad, BMTC won’t be able to service commuters easily. Namma Metro has its limitations and suburban railways are yet to kick off. We have realised that the best bet for commuters is to start local train services. All the major cities of India have local train services. Approximately, there are 500 km of railway tracks and 50 stations within a 50-km radius but it’s largely used for goods transport. Utilising this rail network for transport could provide reliable and timely services,” said Rajkumar Dugar of Citizens for Citizens (C4C).

Rail activists highlight that introducing such services could draw people off roads and into the usage of public transport. They also feel that the introduction of the services on a trial basis could attract ridership.

Apart from pulling traffic off Bengaluru roads, reliable local train services could also facilitate commuting from areas around Bengaluru instead of people mushrooming near their place of work. A person could live in Tumakuru or Hosur and commute to work regularly as the commute time will be reduced considerably. Railway fares also tend to be more affordable than buses, said Krishna Prasad, a rail activist.

Prasad added that such a service will also help bring down living costs as the rents will be lesser in areas outside Bengaluru.

Students using rail services to commute to their schools and colleges also feel such train services could be beneficial. “I commute to Chikkaballapura for college daily.

The airport train leaves Yelahanka at 7:45 am and reaches Devanahalli at 8 am. The line should be extended to Chikkaballapura to help students. Even if there is a single service connecting Chikkaballapura and Bengaluru, it would help students a lot,” said Manju Nair, a college student and rail enthusiast.

C4C submitted an officials request to South Western Railways General Manager, Sanjeev Kishore to implement services of highest priority in the following areas:

Ramanagara–KSR, Bluru City–Whitefield–Bangarpet/Marikuppam (approximately 130 kms to and fro), Hosur–Sir MV Terminal–Yeshvantpura–Tumakuru(approximately 127 kms to and fro), Cantonment–Sir MV Terminal–Yeshvantpura–KSR/Kengeri (approximately 33 kms to and fro), Cantonment–Channasandra–YNK–Devanahalli/Chikkaballapura (approximately 54kms to and fro), and Doddaballapura–Yelahanka–Yeshvantpura–Kunigal (approximately 100 kms to and fro).

Rail activists said in the first phase, these trains should be run at a frequency of one every 30 minutes on all above 5 routes in the morning 7.30am – 9.30am & evening 5.30pm – 7.30pm peak-hour time slots, both ways. They suggested that long-distance trains could utilise the new Sir MV Terminal.

SWR Chief PRO Aneesh Hegde said that based on demand and operational feasibility, a decision will be taken.

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