KARNATAKA

Commuter rail system may emerge the cheapest

As the number of people preferring to commute to Bangalore for work from the outlying towns is expected to increase in the coming years, the proposed commuter rail system (CRS) — connecting important towns — is likely to emerge as one of the important and cheaper modes of transport.

With a reliable railway network in place (about 400 km) connecting Bangalore with Kengeri, Bidadi, Yelahanka, Ramanagaram, Chennapatna, Tumkur, Doddaballapur, Whitefield, Chikkaballapur and Nelamangala, it requires minimum investment to make a functional and efficient CRS.

Being proposed as a complimentary system to the existing network of public transport, the CRS is ideally suited for satellite towns situated at a distance between 30 and 100 km from Bangalore, which can be covered within one-and-a-half hours.

Not only this, in the case of a breakdown of the public transport system that was witnessed when the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) workers went on strike, the CRS could emerge as the bulwark of transport system between the metropolis and the far-flung satellite towns, transporting large number of people.

To be implemented in stages, the CRS is expected to bring down the traffic problem in the city, as the authorities expect people to start using it once an efficient, reliable and a cost-effective system is put in place besides reducing pressure on the BMTC.

Final draft ready

Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES) prepared a draft note on the commuter rail system some time ago.

However, sources in the Directorate of Urban Land Transport said that RITES has submitted the final draft, providing phase-wise plans for implementation.

“The plan has to be presented before the government for its approval and it has to be discussed with all the stakeholders,” the sources added.

Meanwhile, Divisional Railway Manager of South Western Railway A.K. Agarwal said that the South Western Railway is keen on implementing the project provided the State government shared a part of the project cost.

“We are ready for discussion and there has been no communication after the revised (RITES) report was submitted,” he said.

Incidentally, the State government has committed itself to funding the rolling stocks (coaches) required for the CRS in Bangalore.

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