Why are intra-city trains not popular?

Why are intra-city trains not popular?

They are dirty and don't run on time, say city commuters who take suburban trains to work

The Chuku Buku Beku campaign

Many long distance trains connect areas within Bengaluru, but not many use them for intra-city commutes. Metrolife visited the Cantonment railway station on Monday to understand why.

Ramesh, techie, travels from Cantonment to Whitefield every morning, but he says the timings need to be more convenient. “Also, trains don’t come on time on many days,” he rues.

A train commute takes him less than 40 minutes from Cantonment to Whitefield, while it takes at least twice as long by road.
Sitalakshmi, teacher at a high school in KR Puram, travels from Majestic to KR Puram every day. She takes the Marikuppam Express at 7.10 am.

“Long-distance trains tend to be dirty. Also, sometimes I wait for hours as the arrivals are unpredictable,” she told Metrolife.

Citizens for Bengaluru is a forum that came into being to stop the steel flyover project in 2016. It has been campaigning for better intra-city train connectivity.

“Bengaluru has to introduce suburban trains. We as citizens have come up with a set of demands for the government,” says Tara Krishnaswamy, co-founder, Citizens for Bengaluru.

In 2017, as part of the its Chuku Buku Beku campaign, members took the train from Cantonment to Whitefield. “It took us 30 minutes for a journey which otherwise takes hours on the road,” she says.

“The reason for many people not using these trains is they don’t run like regular commuter trains. There is no preference for city commuters and the timings are inconvenient,” she elaborates.

Parking space must also be created, and provision made for long hours of parking, she says.

Citizens for Bengaluru came up with another campaign, called Modalu Train Beku, in July 2018.

“The government is out to spend Rs 40,000 crore budget for its elevated corridor project, including the land acquisition cost. If they are ready to release so much for the elevated corridor project, why can’t they spend half the money on the suburban train project? Suburban trains can ferry thousands of people whereas elevated corridors can ferry only hundreds of people,” she says.

Citizens For Bengaluru demands

  • Run existing trains on time and at more convenient hours
  • Encourage cycle sharing and provide better parking.
  • Indian Railways, BMTC and BBMP must co-ordinate better.
  • Provide trains from city station and Yeswantpur to airport.
  • Use Mysuru line to cater to garment workers and farmers.

Train app

A new app called ‘Where is my train?’ was launched by the Indian Railways recently. “You can use it to check for live updates about your train,” says Raghavendra S M, Cantonment station master.