“The time is right for a suburban rail network for the city by making use of the existing lines. This can be put in place in about three years and will be a boon for the city,” said T.G. Sitharam, chairperson of Centre for infrastructure, Sustainable Transportation and Urban Planning (CiSTUP), Indian Institute of Science (IISc.).
Speaking at a workshop on ‘Urban Transport-mobility strategies for Bangalore’, organised by the State Institute for Urban Development (SIUD), here on Tuesday, he said: “We need to take this on a fast forward mode. The government has proposed to set up the Bangalore Suburban Rail Corporation Ltd. and the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) is working on the detailed project report. The whole project will cost around Rs. 900 crore.”
Prof. Sitharam said that the suburban trains needn’t have too many bogies. “Just four compartments may be sufficient. These bogies can be airconditioned and provided with Internet facility so that more number of people will be attracted to use this network.”
Urban transport is the key for 30 per cent of the population that is below the poverty line. With the city bursting at its seams, people travel long distances to reach their work places. So, infrastructure planning should address these issues while also focussing on long-term planning. “With a focus on decongesting cities, we need to look at mobility of people and goods, and not automobiles. We must encourage people to use public transport.”
Prof. Sitharam said BMTC should introduce 2,000 more buses. Mere widening of roads would not help and the civic authorities must provide good quality of roads to aid better urban mobility.
Bhaskar Rao, president and chairperson of Centre for Symbiosis of Technology, Environment and Management (STEM), urged the city planners to take into consideration the floating population, in addition to city’s population while preparing the Comprehensive Mobility Plans. Mobility plans should facilitate free and unhindered movement of vehicles between residence and work place, he said and stressed the need for comprehensive research in this area.