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Metro Speed in Buses & Commuter Rail - Way to increase public transit capacity handling

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With the recent introduction of  Namma Metro E-W corridor, lot of fanfare from media as well as public. The line is already takng 1,30,000 passengers. One end of the line, people are parking their vehicles and boarding Metro, while the other end if they are not IT crowd not working in Whitefield or Eastern Outer Ring Road, such as Vidhana Soudha / MS Building, they are benefitted.

If you are working in an IT office like me, whatever benefit we are getting from Metro with travel time of 35 mins from Nayandanahalli to Byappanahalli is compensated by the time taken to reach your office from Byappanahalli - Thanks to the 'ever hanging' bridge of KR Puram.

For instance, my office in Bagmane World Technology Centre to Byappanahalli, I took 1 hour to reach by city bus to travel a mere 6kms. 

BMRCL extended its route in Phase 1 itself which was done without proper analysis. It was more of a feasibility study than the necessity such as Reach 3 extension from Peenya to Hesarghatta Cross and Reach 4 extension from RV Road to Konankunte Cross was not absolutely needed. What was needed was extension of Reach 1 to KR Puram to cross this infamous hanging bridge.

Now coming to trains, during peak hours it is having crush load especially from Indiranagar to Attiguppe. BMRCL is not increasing the frequency to the promised 3 minutes atleast during peak hours. May be they do not have the rakes.

To accomplish this, it took 9 years. It all started in 2007 and completed in 2016. Indeed, Metro is great. Nice to travel in 20 mins from Majestic to Byappanahalli. But the routes planned had pitfalls. I am not taking credit away from BMRCL.

Can Bangalore wait so long for its traffic problems?

What we need to do is have a sustainable solutions something like 'quick fix' at an affordable cost. What Metro does, can it be done in alternative and cheaper technology? Yes as per major sustainable projects across world.

Metro is achieving an average of 30kph in Bangalore - taking 35 minutes for 18kms which ideally should have been 50kph. 30 kph can be achieved by buses if they are given exclusive lane. Coming to cost, in India it is costing around 20crore per km of BRTS as against 200 crores for elevated and 500 crores for underground metro.

Looking at this majority of south american cities like Bogota, Curitiba, Sao Paulo , Mexico City and many Chinese cities like Beijing and Ghungzao is taking BRTS route. Our outer ring road can certainly have this kind of solution. What we have is a chaotic 5 lane road either side with uncontrolled traffic. There are two lanes for service road and 3 lanes for main street. Instead of two lanes of service road, one lane of service road and one lane of median BRTS with skywalks to approach the stations something like this in Ghunzao:

 

The service lanes can also be utilized for cycle corridors. Most of the people coming to ORR companies in their private cars and 2 wheelers are from nearby areas compared to far off places as it financially works out for them. Their parking should be charged in offices and promote the usage of cycles.

Same Metro card can be used for BRTS access or token systems. Even with Volvo buses, this works out lot cheaper compared to Metro.

KR Puram - Silkboard Metro is planned in Phase 3. Can we wait till then?

KR Puram to silkboard is around 18 kms and it can be covered in 30 mins. Similar 

 

Comments

srinidhi's picture

Lack of foresight has been

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Lack of foresight has been the bane of Infra planning in Blr..

Connectivity to ITPL and EC should have been first on the cards. Unfortunately there has been slow realization of this need. 

EC got its BETL because NRN/KMS/Premji wanted to 'fly' over the reality below..all that place needed was short bridges at the important junctions to use the 10 lane road at grade..along with this a metro line would have done the best job..ufortunately it was ignored..

Same is the case with ITPL..the depot could have come at Kadugodi instead of BYP and the premum land at BYP could have been better used for office space. Though BMRCL seems to have tendered for the building of office space with some of the land left at BYP now..

btw I think the phpdt is way too high for silkboard- hebbal stretch now..BRT/LRT might not suffice..we need the metro there asap!

Its all been mistakes after mistakes for this city!

Naveen's picture

Limit demands

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If you are working in an IT office like me, whatever benefit we are getting from Metro with travel time of 35 mins from Nayandanahalli to Byappanahalli is compensated by the time taken to reach your office from Byappanahalli - Thanks to the 'ever hanging' bridge of KR Puram.

 

Are you suggesting that metro should have solved each & everyone's commuting problems in the city from the word go? It's not possible as a metro system is always built in fragments to piece together a large network. A full network cannot be built in one phase to solve everyone's commuting problems. As coverage improves over phases, it will start helping more & more sections. So, isn't your expectation that it should have solved all your commuting problems entirely in the 1st phase itself excessive?

BMRCL extended its route in Phase 1 itself which was done without proper analysis. It was more of a feasibility study than the necessity such as Reach 3 extension from Peenya to Hesarghatta Cross and Reach 4 extension from RV Road to Konankunte Cross was not absolutely needed. What was needed was extension of Reach 1 to KR Puram to cross this infamous hanging bridge.

The green line has 40,000 commuters though it does not connect Majestic. This number was earlier around 18,000 & increased only after reach-3 extension from Peenya to Nagasandra was opened. What does that tell you? Consider ridership numbers before you claim that it was "absolutely not needed". And BMRC cannot decide routes or extensions on its own. It is goverened by what studies reveal & not by cars choking areas around 'infamous hanging bridge'.

Now coming to trains, during peak hours it is having crush load especially from Indiranagar to Attiguppe.

Crush load is 975 people per rake of 3 coaches & is still some way to go.

Metro is achieving an average of 30kph in Bangalore - taking 35 minutes for 18kms which ideally should have been 50kph.

Can you name a metro system anywhere in the world that averages 50kph that stops at all stations (not express services)? The speed of 32kph is good enough for trains that stop every km.

KR Puram - Silkboard Metro is planned in Phase 3. Can we wait till then?

Yes, certainly. If car users that choke up ORR get off their cars & start using public transport, everyone can definitely wait as buses will start moving much faster. For this, you, your company & other ORRCA companies must take steps to de-congest ORR by talking to employees to use PT instead of questioning why other areas are getting metro.

Those other areas that you complain about don't have 6 lane signal free roads like ORR, isn't it? Nor can you say that they do not have commuters as is clear from green line north section. Wait till green line south section opens & I'm sure you'll see far more ridership than purple line.

Naveen's picture

Harping won't help

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Connectivity to ITPL and EC should have been first on the cards. 

The city's metro is not being built just for IT areas that already have elevated & signal free roads. Many other areas need metro faster than the elite IT areas.

depot could have come at Kadugodi instead of BYP and the premum land at BYP could have been better used for office space. Though BMRCL seems to have tendered for the building of office space with some of the land left at BYP now..

It is up to state /BMRCL to decide how they wish to use their land - they own it - & services like metro depot infra /control center are far more important than office space that you talk about. Going by your logic, Vidhana Soudha, high court, civil courts, defense establishments, state offices, even police stations, sewage plants, water utilities, BBMP offices, Citizen centers etc can all be moved out from the city center to make way for offices, but sorry, a city doesn't work that way & land owners have to decide what they do with their land.

Its all been mistakes after mistakes for this city!

Yes, I agree. Too many IT people who can't get out of their cars & choking up elevated /signal-free roads & now demanding metro on top priority.

Vasanth's picture

Naveen - Push is on alternative transport to Metro

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@Naveen, whatever happened to Metro Phase 1 is thing of past and it was just an analysis. Various ways of doing post mortem and it is a general feeling who take metro and pool cars in Uber/Ola to offices and not just my own opinion. I agree Nagasandra has increased the ridership, but extension to KR Puram would have done even more even before complete opening of E-W corridor.

Now question is what would be the fate of these traffic corridors until Metro Phase 2 and 3 goes live.

Statistically company claims 975 as crush load, but I have been using E-W corridor. In the evenings, guards have to push people inside to close doors similar to what is done in Japan. BMRCL might not get the exact figures from ticketing data, it needs to do an analysis, but it is too much of load and difficulty for passengers.

I know it takes time for this model to mature and cannot expect magic. 

My take here is to introduce  sustainable transport which could be implemented in 2 years time frame and not 10 years time frame like Metro Phase 2 & 3.

Sustainable Transport Organizations like ITDP can improve the things of Eastern Bangalore. Some of the solutions is our own Praja's campaign of 'Namma Railu' and Bus Rapid Transit System.

ITDP has recently suggested to implement 'Progressive Parking' for Pune. Similar methods has to be introduced to Bangalore. IT parks needs to have comprehensive parking policies peenalizing car takers and encouraging office transport / public transport / pooled transport / cycle takers.

Tech Parks should not say this is our land and Government cannot mandate it. Without that, I don't think the state of East Bangalore is going to improve. Let us put a fatty person on diet instead of getting a bigger pant to him.

Vasanth's picture

Pune Example of Rainbow BRTS

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http://www.pmpml.org/BRT.aspx

https://rainbowbrtpune.wordpress.com/

Pune is just another Indian City.

Same is done In Indore, Ahmedabad , Surat.  Bengaluru needs to start it somewhere..

Even with Volvo buses, cost would be 1/10th the investment of a Metro.

 

Naveen's picture

Sustainable is not short-term

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it is a general feeling who take metro and pool cars in Uber/Ola to offices and not just my own opinion. I agree Nagasandra has increased the ridership, but extension to KR Puram would have done even more even before complete opening of E-W corridor.

On what basis are you saying that extension to KRPuram would have had even more ridership before complete opening of the E-W corridor? In Oct-2011, when reach1 had been opened, KRPuram & east-ORR was not a mess like it is now & one could travel pretty fast through KRPuram & east-ORR & there were plenty of volvo buses. Yet, ridership remained poor on reach1 even with many volvo buses for last mile connectivity. Even feeder buses were a total flop.

Compared to reach1, ridership on reach3 was much higher even before the extension to Nagasandra opened & almost doubled after that. So, I don't understand how you can conclude that it would have been higher if reach1 had been extended to KRPuram.

The problem is not extension but travel habits of people in the area who insist on Uber/Ola or drive private cars to offices despite availability of good public transport & this is what is choking up KRPuram bridge & also east-ORR. Since I stay close to east-ORR, I have been witnessing how in the last 2-3 years this part of ORR has now become so full of traffic that I dread to go that side now. Going towards city side seems easier though traffic on old airport road also has very heavy traffic now.

My take here is to introduce  sustainable transport which could be implemented in 2 years time frame and not 10 years time frame like Metro Phase 2 & 3.

Metro is far more sustainable than buses btw. I had also been wondering why they had not pursued BRT on ORR even after preparing flyovers & underpasses with bus lanes, but now I believe metro is required on east-ORR as loads are already far too high for a BRT system to cope with. In future years, loads will keep increasing. So, isn't it better not to be shortsighted, looking for quickfixes instead of waiting for metro? BRT also requires investments that may go waste when it cannot meet demands of the future as more & more offices are springing up along east-ORR.

Besides, there is the problem of providing right of way for BRT at KRPuram & Silkboard - dedicated overpasses will have to be built which will obstruct metro viaduct extensions as there are severe problems for land acquisition in these areas, unlike Mysore road, Kanakapura road or Tumkur rd.

IT parks needs to have comprehensive parking policies peenalizing car takers and encouraging office transport / public transport / pooled transport / cycle takers.

Tech Parks should not say this is our land and Government cannot mandate it. Without that, I don't think the state of East Bangalore is going to improve.

I agree but this cannot be enforced until a permanent solution is provided. Once a metro network with sufficient capacity for expansion has been built covering ORR, IT parks can be told to discourage parking & laws passed, but it is difficult now as metro has very small footprint across city.

Vasanth's picture

Wondering..

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Naveen, I am wondering that you got infected with Metro fever - a BRT pioneer on Praja then . In the first place, Metro cannot give solution to all the problems as it would just pass through whitefield and cannot go to every door. Even with Metro, people would say, it is unreachable at one end or both the ends and still use cars to everyday commute. They could use buses, around 40plus 500 series Volvos and 50plus 335E series exists. It should be made faster by creating exclusive ways.

Also most of the offices provide shuttles to pickup and drop. I am not a big fan of office shuttle as ideally people should use public transport.But still better than individual cars. For making people to use office shuttle of Buses is enforcing car and bike parking fees in tech parks. I stay in BSK area and I work in Doddanekundi from past 6 years. Only 1 time I have taken my car and 2 times my bike to office. Have been managing with office shuttle,BMTC and  Indian rail during ORR flyover construction. If I can do that, I wonder why can't others. It is just the mindset of 'let Metro come', till then will use my car.

A permanent solution with Metro as you said I don't think it cannot happen anytime unless the number of cars decreases and the time frame for Metro on ORR is still 8 more years.

Agree that there is a problem at KR Puram hanging bridge for BRT, but it can happen between Silkboard and KR Puram. Buses can go in mixed mode with a BPS kind of technology to cross this  KR Puram and again take dedicated lane till Hebbal or even Yelahanka/Airport.

Only way for East Bengaluru is to restrict car usage, a commuter rail at least once a hour and a BRT on ORR. Thinking of Metro as a magic button would be a distant reality.

Naveen's picture

BPS may not work

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Vasanth, didn't know you are public transport dependent commuter from Banashankari to Doddanekundi from past 6 years, I can now understand your frustrations much better.

I was strongly in favor of BRT all around ORR even before it was completed by Krishna govt when Jayakar Jerome was BDA commissioner. This was in early-2000s period, when BRT study done by SIDA had been announced, much before praja was formed. I had in fact spoken to Jerome about it after he had made a presentation about the priority on completing ORR at our residential community.

However, it has been most disappointing to see them building all those bus lanes in between underpasses & flyovers & then left them to rot, without thinking about BRT. Meanwhile, my observations in Pune & Ahmadabad were also not encouraging as I observed rampant violations of even segregated bus lanes by private vehicles even when traffic delays at signals were few. Also news about BRT from Delhi was most disappointing - and these are cities with wide roads, unlike Bangalore. The only way BRT can work well in India is when they build exclusive bus lanes that are separated by heavy barriers that are not breachable, or with elevated viaducts.

I don't think BPS will ever work anywhere in India, least of all at Bangalore with its huge traffic, especially east Bangalore. Any talk of BRT will be met with stiff resistance. What they can try is BRT with single lane circular bus routes. People protest even now about lack of efforts for road widening. This is why there is so much support for elevated roads. I am beginning to think that only metro may solve commuter problems for the dense traffic but as you say, it will take time.

I have a feeling that when the green line is opened fully, the KRPuram mess may somewhat reduce as everyone who drives cars from green line areas to reach east may switch to metro & traffic may reduce, though not entirely. I am told that BMRC is trying to take up the KRPuram-Silkboard metro stretch on priority, as announced by KJ George earlier. So, we may see some announcement when DPR for ph-3 is out in Aug-Sep.

amithpallavoor's picture

As a thought, I think it may

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As a thought, I think it may not be a bad idea to start commuter train services from BYPL to Bangarpet once phase two metro starts.

The services could be hourly and could cater to the ITPL junta and hoi-polloi from Bangarpete. The Bangarpete and Marikuppam MEMU run full most of the time. I have travelled on these quite a few times.

Hourly services between 6:00 AM and 11:00 PM shall make a lot of difference.

But would the elitist ITPL junta rub shoulders with Bangarpete crowd? 

The modified suburban rail service has many flaws and stopping services at WFD would knell a death blow to suburban railway once Metro Phase two becomes operational.

My worry is that GOK is keen bringing in on bringing investment to Kolar, Devanahalli and Chikkaballapur without giving it a thought to connectivity issues. The Kolar Bangarpet line should be doubled and electrified and the feasibility of doubling the line between Kolar and Chikkaballapur should also be explored. The proposed third line supposedly connects SBC to Kolar via Hosokote industrial estate.  Is the project off?

Similarly, on the South Western side, KGI station is already saturated and I don't see any scope of expansion. How are we going to have expansion if at KGI if at all suburban rail becomes a reality?  If not anything, we may need stabling and pit lines.

My view is since there is easy availability of land at GBN,the station could be developed as a multi modal transport hub. Will the greens allow that?

The greens do have a valid point.  Here again, the idea of running services till Mandya is flawed.

Hourly trains from GBN to Mysore between 6:00 AM and 11:00 PM should suffice. The easy access to Metro is a boon for GBN unlike KGI, which is located a fair distance away from the proposed Kengeri station. 

It is high time that decentralized economic growth happens in Karnataka and the focus moves away from CBD, WFD and Ecity. 

My two cents on what could drive the economy in these towns and Bangalore:

(1) Kolar and Chikkaballapur - Manufacturing
(2) Mandya- Agro based Industries, FMCG Manufacturing
(3) Mysore - Tourism and IT
(4) Tumkur- Manufacturing and Aerospace
(5) Devanahalli- Financial District and Aerospace 
(6) Doddaballapur - Textile and garments 
 
I think low end IT services and outsourcing could happen in a Mysore. Bangalore should get back to focusing on high end technology, product development,  high end analytics, consulting and research. We would always have the PE firms to aid these sectors and other innovative start ups.

 

amithpallavoor's picture

I don't think BRT will make a

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I don't think BRT will make a difference to ORR. It should have been given a thought when the road was being built.

IMHO, NICE Road is ideal for BRTS/ Light Rail/ Tram but is Mr. Kheny willing to forgo the toll that he gets from cars going towards Ecity?

The bigger challenge of course, is addressing connectivity issues to NICE Road from say a Vijayanagara/ BSK to NICE Road. Since it is not a freeway, there are exits only at certain points. How does one address these issues?

Also, the roads leading to NICE such as Mysore Road, Bannerghatta Road, Kanakapura Road, Magadi Road are already clogged. I am sure a lot of  the Ecity shall junk the elevated road if an MRTS is built along NICE Road. This shall mean more traffic on these roads.

 



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