Mobility push: Bengaluru looks to 2020 with hope

Namma Metro rail line construction work is going on at Whitefield in Bengaluru on Sunday. Photo by S K Dinesh

The city’s mobility sector witnessed a revolution of sorts with the introduction of BMTC’s bus priority lane but many important projects have now been pushed to the year 2020, the suburban rail, a key project, again put on the backburner.

Increasing congestion requires multifaceted solutions but even minor works like connecting Metro and railway station at Yeshwantpur have not taken off, due to lack of coordination among officials and political will.

Urban transport activist Sanjeev Dyamannavar said overall, the progress in the mobility sector was disappointing considering that long pending projects were not approved while those in progress have been delayed.

He said there is no clarity on the commissioning of any projects under Namma Metro Phase 2 in 2020. Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) had originally promised to complete the entire Phase 2 by 2021 at a cost Rs 24,000 crore. 

“The cost has since been revised to Rs 32,000 crore. But we are lucky even if one extension begins commercial operations by the end of 2020 considering the slow-progress of civil work on Kengeri and Anjanapura lines,” he noted.

BMTC priority lane

BMTC, which ended the year on a high with its bus priority lanes, has proposed to augment its fleet by 3,000 buses over the following year. 

BMTC managing director C Shikha said the positive results of the 20-km bus priority corridor along the highly congested outer ring road has encouraged the corporation to explore the possibilities of extending this to remaining high-density corridors.

“We have also planned to increase feeder service to Metro stations based on travel demand pattern,” she said.

The clearance for work on forest land in Kadugodi and Anjanapura as well as the tenders called for the outer ring road Metro were the last-minute positive news from 2019.

Airport halt station

The construction of halt station at the Trumpet Flyover near the Kempegowda International Airport gives a big push to the suburban rail, even as the full-fledged project that may cost over Rs 20,000 crore is pending before the Union government.

Dyamannavar, however, noted that railway officials should focus on the low-hanging fruit. “The work on quadrupling of Cantonment-Whitefield line, expected to begin within a month, also gives hope. Doubling of Baiyappanahalli-Hosur, Yeshwantpur-Channasandra lines and electrification of Tumakuru line should also be taken up on priority,” he said.

He said more services should be introduced by utilising the existing services and expediting minor works.

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