IISc study confirms Bangalore Suburban Rail system 20 times cheaper than Metro Rail

बेंगलुरू Bengaluru (SBC): Developing the existing railway infrastructure inside and outside Bengaluru can go a long way in tackling the city’s transport mess, an IISc study confirmed. “The government should consider options like suburban rail, which requires minimal intervention and use of existing facilities rather than building anything from scratch,” it has said.

The study found the cost factor is the biggest advantage in developing suburban rail. It costs around Rs.18.5 crore per km as against a whopping Rs 371.55 crore per km for the Metro. Monorail would cost Rs.123.85 per km and a high-speed rail corridor Rs 173 crore per km.

The study was done with the support of Praja, an advocacy and research organization working on urban issues. Based on recommendations of this study, the final report was made by RITES.

T.G.Sitaram, Professor at IISc and ex-chairman of CiSTUP, who chaired the research said, “The international standard commute time is one hour. Yet in Bengaluru, that standard is three hours for most citizens. Suburban rail can tackle urban growth and travel needs across economies in the city, and is less cost-intensive.”

The suburban network is proposed to be built around towns and cities 30-80km from the city – the ones considered in the study are Mandya, Ramanagaram, Tumkur, Doddaballapur, Chikkaballapur, Malur, Bangarpet and Hosur.

“With low land prices in these areas, low and middle-income groups tend to choose these locations as home. An average 20-60% commuters travel daily to Bengaluru on these routes, which adds an enormous burden on the road infrastructure. Congestion on the road ultimately leads to longer travel time, which impacts productivity,” the study observes.

It also reveals that the number of vehicles has grown 17 times in the city in the past decade — from 19.5 lakh in 2003-04 to 50.5 lakh in 2013-14 fiscal. By 2010, there was about one vehicle for every two persons, which means for a population of 9.4 million there were over 4 million vehicles and 72% of them were two-wheelers.

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