Handling rising ridership Metro's next big challenge

Getting foothold in trains to be tough; expect 6-car trains by 2018

Handling rising ridership  Metro's next big challenge

 Countdown has begun for operationalisation of Namma Metro’s entire Phase 1 network, but travelling in Metro will be an arduous affair for nearly a year till BMRCL introduces six-car trains.

BMRCL MD Pradeep Singh Kharola said they were expecting more than 4 lakh riders on the inaugural day. “At present, the daily ridership stands at 1.5 lakh on East-West corridor and over 50,000 on North-South corridor. When the entire Phase 1 gets operational, we expect about 5 lakh people to travel in Metro every day.”

A Metro official, however, said that 5 lakh was a conservative estimate. “The Sampige Road-Yelachenahalli corridor not only connects North and South, but activates the whole network. We have to consider the North-East, South-East, North-West and South-West connections. The number of riders can cross 6 lakh,” he said.

The BMRCL has 21 trains on the East-West corridor and 29 on the North-South corridor. Each train with three cars has a capacity to carry 975 people. Though BMRCL officials said they will deal with the crowd effectively, getting a foothold inside a Metro car is going to be a struggle.

Asked about the proposed six-car trains, a BMRCL official said they will be introduced once they get the intermediate cars from BEML, which will be attached to the existing rakes, doubling their carrying capacity.

BEML has bagged the contract to supply 150 intermediate cars for Namma Metro at a cost of Rs 1,421 crore. A document regarding the contract says the supply of cars “shall commence from June 2018 and will be completed by December 2019”.

However, a BMRCL official said they will introduce six-car trains by March. “We are expecting to test intermediate cars in December and induct them in a phased manner from March. Six-car trains will be introduced by March,” he added.

Bengaluru Development Minister K J George recently said the Sampige Road-Yelachenahalli section will be inaugurated within two or three weeks if “everything goes according to plan”. A Metro official said, “Opening the stretch is not a happily-ever-after situation. The biggest challenge is handling the number of people.”

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