BBMP pushes for pod taxi

BBMP pushes for pod taxi

Pod taxi or Metro

The opposition to pod taxi notwithstanding, the BBMP seems to be bent on going ahead with project and has sought the endorsement of the council that met on Thursday. A metro line proposed under Phase 3 has been scrapped to make way for pod taxi infrastructure.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has picked pod taxi for providing "last-mile connectivity without involving carbon emission". Termed personal rapid transport system, each pod with six passengers runs on fixed lines.

The Palike had identified five stretches for the project but zeroed in on Trinity Circle-Hope Farm stretch. As per the plan, the line connects Trinity and Whitefield Metro stations by running parallel on HAL road. It will go through Domlur, Leela Palace, HAL Airport and Virginia Mall before connecting to the metro station.

Experts caution pod taxis will not meet the demand. "On both feasibility and capacity fronts, pod taxis can play only a limited role. A mass rapid transport system like metro is the best answe. Electric vehicles, buses and bicycles can provide last-mile connectivity,” said Ashish Verma of IISc, known for his research at Centre for infrastructure, Sustainable Transportation, and Urban Planning (CiSTUP).

A senior BBMP official noted that the Palike was not investing any money. “We will only provide right of way. The private player will build and operate it while providing annuity for all the years before transferring it to us,” he said.

The BBMP had fixed Rs 5 crore and a consortium of three companies, including Embassy Property Developments Pvt Ltd, has quoted Rs 6.55 crore, with the addition of Rs 1.5 crore, making it look remunerative.

Verma said money alone should not decide the project. “Allowing a rigid project with a limited capacity will have repercussions. When the monorail in Mumbai has become a liability, officials need to assess whether pod taxi will succeed,” he said.