Get off road, take fast train to office

Doubling Yeshwantpur-Hosur line, increasing DEMU trains can decongest roads to IT hubs

Get off road, take fast train to office
In one hour flat, a DEMU passenger train can take you from Yeshwantpur to Heelalige, a station barely seven km from Electronics City! If this helps you bypass all that gruelling drive around taxing traffic gridlocks and save hours, why isn’t the railways doubling the track and adding more such trains?

There is still no sign of a suburban rail network to decongest Bengaluru. But just by doubling or tripling the frequency of the Yeshwantpur-Hosur-Yeshwantpur DEMU (Diesel Electric Multiple Unit) train during peak hours, a big traffic load could be taken off the congested Outer Ring Road (ORR), Sarjapur road, Koramangala and Hosur road.

Running almost parallel to ORR, this critical railway line could link the two IT hubs of Electronics City and Whitefield, freeing up the roads. “This single track also passes through eight corridors including Varthur road, Old Madras road, Nagawara road and Ballari road. It is like an arterial train line. Railways have enough land to double this track,” Sathya Sankaran, member, Citizens for Sustainability (CiFoS) told Deccan Herald.  

Track doubling could resolve operational issues associated with adding more trains. Thousands of IT employees in techparks on the highly congested Sarjapur road, could then hop onto a fast train to Yeshwantpur, Banaswadi or Hosur. Besides, as urban commute expert Sanjeev Dyamannavar pointed out, a halt station at Munekolala could help those bound for Whitefield alight near Marathahalli and head to the IT hub. 

The DEMU train, now running two trips each in the morning and evening, has already made a difference. For Nagendra, a senior software engineer from a techpark near Bellandur, the train helped him shift his house to Hosur and still reach office faster. “I was staying about 4 km from office. The road journey would take 45 minutes. I now take only 35 minutes from Hosur. Rents are also much cheaper there,” he said.

500 IT employees
Syncing their work timings with the schedules of the DEMU and other long distance trains, around 500 IT employees now commute between Hosur and Bengaluru. Many others take the train from Heelalige to Banaswadi, Hebbal, Lottegollahalli and Yeshwantpur. Their numbers could spike if the track is doubled and more reliable DEMU trains are introduced. Four in the morning, four in the evening, as Sankaran suggested.

Till DEMU train frequencies are increased, commuters want more long distance trains to stop at all the stations, including Bellandur Road. But Express train timings could get highly unreliable, a concern for many office-going commuters. Dyamannavar felt that last-mile connectivity has to improve at all stations. Bellandur Road in particular has too narrow an approach road.

Corporate biggies from Electronics City could introduce regular shuttle services to the Heelalige station. BMTC services from the factories in Bommasandra could be another big boost to commuters heading to inner city locations by train. While this could improve connectivity, commuters have another big reason to opt for the rail route: Dirt cheap fares. For less than Rs. 20, they could be home, 50 km away!

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