Skeletal suburban rail network needs connectivity too

Skeletal suburban rail network needs connectivity too

Outside the glare of the Namma Metro and BMTC services, a skeletal suburban rail network continues to find more takers in the city. Yes, the proposal for a full-fledged network is stuck in cost-sharing issues between the Centre and state. But the huge rush in the few local trains run under the skeletal system is an indication that the suburban rail will be the real game-changer.

The IT crowd heading to Whitefield from Bengaluru City and Baiyappanahalli have already found the few local trains a far quicker, cheaper and safer option than BMTC buses or personal vehicles that get stuck in the chaotic road traffic. The launch of the Hoodi halt station near ITPL has helped the employees streamline their commute to office and back.

On the Salem line, the Yeswantpur-Hosur-Yeshwantpur services are also getting more popular among the IT crowds. For those heading to software firms in Electronics City, alighting the train at Heelalige station makes perfect sense. This station is barely six km away from the IT hub.

This single track line also offers an alternative to the crowded Outer Ring Road for employees heading to Manyata Tech Park. They could get off the train at Banaswadi railway station, not far away from the Tech Park.

However, despite the proven benefits of the skeletal suburban rail network, there is no urgency to boost the last-mile BMTC bus connectivity to the local railway stations. For instance, only autorickshaws and taxis are found at the Banaswadi station. The road to Bellandur Road station is so narrow that a BMTC bus will find it extremely tough to reach anywhere close.

Urban mobility experts say the suburban rail network should be made a full-fledged system at the earliest. They are convinced that only this system can truly decongest the city roads. And unlike the Namma Metro, making this system a reality will not take decades. Nor will it cost much.

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