More single-bogie trams to run on various streets in Kolkata soon

KOLKATA: Buyoed by the success of single-bogie tram, the Calcutta Tramways Company Ltd (CTC) is all set to extend a similar service in other parts of the city.

Confirming the news, the Managing director of CTC, Mr Nilanjan Sandilya, said that more single-coach trams will be introduced in congested parts and in areas where passenger turnout is negligible in double coach trams. He, however, hinted the complete changeover to single-bogies cannot be ruled out.

“It would be too early to say that the single coaches will replace the double bogies, but a complete change cannot be denied in the near future,”

Moreover, he refused to acknowledge that trams cause traffic congestion and added the areas where tram facility has been stopped due to civic works has led to encroachments by illegal parking.

Besides, the company is also planning to re-operate the services on several routes closed due to civic works.

“We are mulling to re-start some viable tram routes ~ such as Mominpur-Hazra via Eqbalpur, Kidderpore-Gopalnagar-Esplanade, Tollygunge-Howrah Bridge ~ across the city,” said a CTC official refusing to comment about the specific time period for the start of service.

According to sources, a little over 100 trams are on tracks compared to over 200 around two decades ago.

Apart from coming up with air-conditioned-bogies, a joyride for tourists, in co-operation with tourism department, the CTC has plans to run AC coaches for the commuters, but obviously with an increased fare, he said, adding more trams will certainly help the cash-strapped CTC to generate additional revenues, added the official.

The CTC, a state government undertaking spends Rs 250 crore a year to earn nearly Rs 50 crore in revenue from passenger fares and ad revenues (both tram and bus services). The company, however, receives an annual subsidy of about Rs 200 crore from the state government.

The transition, meanwhile, drew mixed reaction from the people for whom trams have been an integral part of their memories.

“The change will never fade away the old memories of childhood when a sense of pride for getting a chance to travel in the first class was visible on our faces,” said Mr Suryanarayan Banerjee, an octogenarian, going down to the memory lane.

Many others, however, felt the change is necessary in view of the rapid increase in traffic in the city, “Traffic movement has increased manifold over the years, so it is necessary to have a potable system transport. The trams will definitely stay but with a slight modifications,” pointed out Mr Amit Sadhwani, a student.