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Why not extend Namma Metro to BIAL ?

I have been reading at various forums and news papers and it is now clear that the planning authorities goofed up by not thinking about rail connectivity to the new BIAL. Now various suggestions are being made and one that is louder than the rest is that a dedicated rail link be provided from MG Road to the BIAL. Which in my opinion is utterly stupid and expensive.

I suggest that the Namma Metro (under construction) be extended to the new BIAL rather than starting a new project. My reasoning is as below:

1) New project would mean more paper work, approval process and hence delay.

2) Higher costs.

3) Inconvenience: for anyone travelling by metro to MG Road and then going to the BIAL Rail station to take the train to the BIAL is an inconvenience.

4) Under Use : The dedicated BIAL rail will be underused as it will be used only by the passengers who would want to travel to the BIAL, which would be much lesser than normal commuters.

5) Residents of North Bangalore (read around bellary road) will be deprived of Metro, since you cannot have two parallel rail services to the same routes. And since only people travelling to BIAL would be able to use the dedicated BIAL rail, it will forever deprive the residents around bellary road to get access to the Metro/rail and will have to live without a good public transport system.

There can be many more points against the dedicated rail service, but I think I have been able to make a good number of points to evoke thought.

What I suggest is to extend a phase of Metro to the BIAL so that not only BIAL passengers but also other normal public is able to use the service and we get maximum value for money and do not get entabgled in two different services. Moreover additional services (read more metro trains) can be engaged at peak times to cater to the BIAL passengers if need be.

This will save cost, time and hassle to everyone. I would love to see comments and more suggestions.

narayan82's picture

the metro goes to Peenya,

the metro goes to Peenya, Via malleshwaram. Hencing extending it to BIAL will be as costly as building a High speed stand alone railway, as the nearest point it can connect to the Metro is either Yeshwantpur (in which case poeple have to change trains) or M.G road (as it is now). What would make sense is to involve the Mono Rail feeder network, to BIAL. It easier to build, less land, cheaper and will suffice the demand for the next 30 years.It will fit along the median, or atop the service road. The Mono rail should ideally go through yelahanka too, instead of following the bypass.
Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
blrsri's picture

Metro is the way to go to BIA

But I think the major problem is raising the funds for constructing this link. BMRCL is mostly state funded and this model becomes difficult for connecting BIA.

If we are going for a BOT for this rail link, as it happened with BIA, concessions need to be provided to the builder..which will include high ticket prices and exclusivity..thats the reason the option to use the exisiting IR rail tracks was dumped..

This line should not be seen as a exclusive train..instead it should be a metro line that starts from MG road but have more stops than the current planned Hebbal & Yelahanka. We will need stops at mekhri circle and in between Hebbal and Yelahanka.

This will promise the ridership and also address the affordability..hope the new govt decides well on this!

Devesh Sirji, request you to kindly take this up with deciding folks..also tell them that a new petrol cess can collect money they we did earlier for BMRCL!

tsubba's picture

metro to bial

i violently agree. that is the only sustainable and meaningful long term solution. even if at this point it has to connect deep. its ok, if it hooks up at YPR or Cant. A train (which is what metro is) doing the 'L' will also be able to serivce more people. Also for people coming from BIA such deep ports are more meaningful. the 'L' will also help prevent any single point from getting clogged by airport traffic, of which there is a danger at BRV field. in the long run it will be useful for there to be multiple access points within the city to connect to north. by'halli, YPR, 'downtown', jaynagra etc etc. this will also help BIA employees and BIA airport city workers to connect to the city. they cannot afford to be paying 400rs per day just to get to work. tis will also help prepare north bangalore as a solid growth center.
bangalore-guy's picture

Re: the metro goes to Peenya


 My idea of proposing metro to BIAL is that we should have a unified transport service and not a fragmented one which becomes more of a pain rather than a solution.

I am not aware of the technicalities of alignment and also of funding (like majority of users of metro and rail-link to BIAL). All I am seeing is from my own point of view of convenience. But I can certaily vouch for my opinion on the cost aspect. A new project's cost is not only the cost of building the rail-link from place A to B, it also involves a huge amount of administrative costs, which could easily by cut if Metro is the platform on which the connectivity is decided.

From a users point of view and from the point of view of a resident of North Bangalore, I would love to see the metro take the BIAL route rather than a dedicated rail-link which would serve a lesser purpose than what Metro would. 

Naveen's picture

Metro /Mono Options for BIAL


Hi bangalore-guy ! Welcome on-board.

TS, blrsri & narayan - we have discussed this issue earlier - whilst it is certainly desirable to integrate BIAL rail with the upcoming Metro, security concerns (travellers' luggage), quick movement to the airport (metro might have to stop at many points en-route) & passenger conveniences (remote in-city check-in facilities) are the obstacles to this. Further, regular Metro coaches might not guarantee seated accommodation for all tired, travel-weary passengers.

A possible solution is to extend the Metro ph-2 route (Electronic city to Yelahanka) till BIAL & have one or two seperate, seated-only class coaches with baggage space on this Metro line. Air passengers will then have an option to use this class. Baggage scanning gear will need to be installed at some key stations on this & other lines at traveller's entry into the station (say at EC, MG Rd, Hebbal, RV Rd, Yeshwanatpur, Old madras rd & Mysore rd stns).

Baggage can be taken into only these stations & loaded onto the trains after scanning & not at all the stations, as such gear is obviously expensive to install, maintain & operate (operators will be required round the clock). Remote check-in facilities can be arranged at EC, MG Rd & Hebbal on this Metro route to BIAL, & air travellers arriving on other Metro routes can also have the facility of remote check-in whilst inter-changing to the BIAL line at MG Rd stn.

Alternately, as I had previously suggested, an exclusive express airport Monorail from BIAL up to Electronic City can be considered - the distance will be some 65 kms, but installation costs will be met by the makers. This Mono will have higher fares & stations only at key points (say - Silkboard, Koramangala, MG Rd, Hebbal, Yelahanka) with baggage scanning gear. Check-In facilities can also be provided with this at two or three stations (say - EC, MG Rd & Hebbal).

However, this option will not address the daily commuting needs upto BIAL from the city's various points. One would have to use the Metro (ph-2) till MG Rd or Yelahanka & change over to this Mono & pay extra, which might not be cost-efficient for daily commuters.


blrsri's picture

seating..checkin and luggages


I am for a exclusive train (MG road to BIA), but to have stops 3 more stops on the way. MG road->Mekhri circle->Hebbal->Sahakar Ngr ->Yelahanka ->BIA .Passengers starting from MG road stn/BIA will always have seats as these are the starting points and moving heavy luggages should not be difficult. 


BIA boasts of fast checkins and automated checkins. Nowadays airlines are issuing e-tickets and doing online/tele checkins..I do not understand why we need checkin counters at train stations!

Baggag scan:

Its arguable that this needs to be done at the airport only..exclusive train or not..theres no way to ensure that there wont be a breach on the train!

We are a thickly populated city and it would be a waste to have a superfast exclusive costly train..instead it can be a fast and serve bigger population! Also, taking it through Ypr might not be a good option..that line is anyway going to peenya and think it should cater that stretch exclusively..for the weary workers who want to return home fast after a long day at work..


Superfast trains need 4000 crores to be put trains will be much more affordable! check the link for airport trains around the world..check the Narita train in Tokyo..This is to be considered as Tokyo's population is comparable!

bangalore-guy's picture

Namma metro to BIAL ?

Hello Naveen thanks for welcoming me.

Coming back to the discussion.

I see that you have cited three or four reasons for providing a separate and dedicated rail service to the BIAL. And I will try to put my thoughts for the same.

1) Remote in city check-in facilities. : I am not sure if remote checkin facilities are needed in the first place. But in case it is provided then the luggage of the passenger will already be taken care of (or will it not be ?) if it is not then how is it going to be different from the web checkin or phone checkin options which most airlines provide. So if the luggage is taken care of passenger should have no problems in using the metro to go to the airport. And in case we dont need remote checkin facility even then, the luggage should not be a problem to be carried in the metro.

2) Quick movement to the airport: Most metro trains would not halt for more than 1 minutes and even if there are 10-12 stations the total time due to intermediate stations would not be more than 15-20 minutes. So the journey by Metro will still be much shorter than the road or any other means and this much of extra time is not an inconvenience at all in my view. The world over people use the normal metro trains to commute from airports.

3) Luggage Security: Why would you need to check for luggage scanning at metro stations. And if you need it for the airtravellers you would need it for every user of the metro. Because anyone can carry bags to the Metro. And since the passenger will anyways checkin at the airport and the baggage will be scanned there it makes no sense to equip the metro stations with expensive baggage scanning equipment.

4) Seats for tired and weary passengers from the airport : The Metro (if it reaches the airport) will start from the airport for incoming passengers and there sure will be enough places to grab.

Bengloorappa's picture

My take - Metro Airport Express

I was thinking about this topic for sometime now, here is my take,

Avoid replication of Bagagge handling infrastructure - Its a colossal waste to have seperate bagagge handling infrastructure replicated in the dedicated rail link as it means adding manpower, equipment like forklifts, Xray machines, lugagge boxes for efficient loading and unloading. There is also potential for misplaced bagagge since sorting by Airline is going to be a big problem. Thinking about liasion with Airlines by the Airport link personnel for bagagge deposit gives me jitters.
Only other alternative is to allow passengers collect lugagge themselves at the airport, which will work itself into inordinate delays while bagagge unloading. Another solution is to create counters at the Aiport for bagagge collection and that has its own problems.

Agreed that Baggage handling at entry points such as BRV grounds, Hebbal gives a stress-free commuite, but what will a passenger in say, Malleswaram do? - take the metro/car upto Hebbal and drop his bagagge off? - he still did have to handle his bagagge upto Hebbal, so whats the point?
Instead, if the Airport link can connect strategic points of the metro network sans bagagge handling, it will be a practical solution.

Here is how it could be potentially done,
a. Interconnect strategic metro points enroute from MG Road to BIAL. A very preliminary list includes Cantt Sta, Mekhri Circle, Hebbal, Sahakar Nagar, Yelehanka. These interconnects can be using passenger walkways between Metro and Airport Link, seperated by a couple of hundred metres at max.
Regardless of who implements this project or differences in guage used etc., this would work effectively.

b. Let passengers handle Baggage - Just facilitate by building easy access using escalators, elevators, travellators etc. Users will resort to using private vehicles if bagagge handling becomes cumbersome, so provide a midway solution. This has been the norm in pretty much many countries. I am hearing of a bagagge handling solution proposed by a link provider for the first time, or maybe I havent seen enough.

c. Provide a sense of bagagge security - Mark coaches based on traffic pattern and allocate seats in coaches as per boarding point. This will esnure minimum movement of passengers from and to coaches that contain passengers boarding from say MG Road.

d. Use effective coach Design - Seperate coaches into two logical sections. One section contains seat facing the opposite direction in which the train is travelling, while the other section faces the direction in which the train is travelling. Each end of a coach should contain bagagge bays which are very easily visible from half-way down the coach, thus ensuring that bagagge would always be within eye sight range. This also prevents passengers from taking bagagge into the seating area and avoids inconveniencing others.

This addresses following points,
1. Integration of Metro Infrastructure with Airport Link
2. Efficient Use of Infrastructure
3. Convenience of usage
4. Faster than Metro

On a tangent, if the implementing agencies can bury their differences and come together on a common platform, then a simple solution would be to run dedicated "Airport Express" coaches from Peenya, Jayanagar and Byatarayanapura and have them converge at BRV grounds, where they can be delinked from their engines, linked up to form a single train and then run to the Airport. Passengers donot need to alight at BRV grounds and hence are not inconvenienced. The same logic can be followed on the down link. Ofcourse, this will only work if the Airport express and Metro can use the same guage.

narayan82's picture

Metro - still a long way off

The train to the airport is an urgent matter. I belive a BOT or BOOT model will be executed in a more hurried pace than the Metro.Combining the metro with this train will delay both the train and the metro. Metro will not connect mekhri circle and hebbal even in its phase 2. It is the mono rail that plans to connect these areas. That too not before 2012. The airport train must be ready in 2-3 years (max 2010). Hence we must go ahead with the airport rail link, with stops at M.G road, Hebbal, Yelahanka and Airport. We can always integrate the Metro (when it is built) with this railway. Bottom line: Combining this with the metro rail, will be slow painful process, that will take forever to complete. I still have my doubts if Phase I will be completedon time with the pace the metro is going at now.
Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
bangalore-guy's picture

Quick solutions might not be the best ones.

I agree that Metro is still a long way off. But then the rail-link has not even started. And we are no strangers to the fact that how long it can take for such projects to come to ground from paper.

Moreover a dedicated rail link is going to be such a waste if the amount of resources that it will take away is not properly utilized (read cannot be used by the general public and can only be used by the Airport bound people.

Instead a well thought out integrated solution will not only serve the BIAL but also the people of the locality (North Bangalore) and the ROI will be better and quicker. 

The Metro as per the current plans will not go to the Hebbal, Yelahanka regions. And if the BIAL gets the dedicated rail-link the people of this region will have no metro service.  



bangalor-guy aka amit sharma !

Vasanth's picture

Quick Solution Exists in the form of BRT

Airport link is a long way to go as well as the Metro. Even Bangalore should go for BRT. A Volvo on a BRT from can comfortably make 100 kph. This with dedicated bus route for BIAL from Hebbal atlease should make the travel between say Kempegowda Bus Stand to BIAL to 45 mins to 1 hour maximum. BRT corridor on the ring road from other areas should also make the travel faster.

It is the Car Chaos which makes it a mess. If this mess is kept seperated for those who cannot come out of their car from the Public Transport, a wise man using public transport can travel faster.

I also suggested the extension of Namma Metro to BIAL since this provides transit for people of Yelahanka, Hebbal etc. A huge investment of 4,000 crores just for AirLine passengers who may or may not use it is a risky investment.

A Metro on the other hand can provide dual purpose. Special BIAL coaches attached to Namma Metro can be a solution. It can cover the distance from Majestic in 45-60 minutes as opposed to 30 minutes of a Dedicated High Speed Link.  


Naveen's picture

Airport Rail Link


1)  Metro station entry/s in Delhi do not permit passengers to carry luggage other than light hand bags, shopping bags, brief cases, etc. as a security measure & I believe Bangalore metro will follow the same security model – hence the need for baggage scanning gear if air travelers are to use stations & board a Metro train, if one is planned.

2)  The coach design in normal Metro is as required for a people mover (typically few seats & most standing) & not suitable for people with heavy luggage. It is for this reason that airport-to-city buses have large spaces for stowing luggage – either underside or within the coach on racks. Thus, the coach design for a rail-link to airport will have to take this into consideration.

3)  Metro phase-2 (as per CTTP) is from EC to Yelahanka via Nagavara & Tirumanahalli & will not pass Mekhri circle & Hebbal. There is no Monorail proposal yet that plans to connect Mekhri Circle. Hebbal is covered, but from Peenya side on ORR, & not through Mekhri circle.

4)  Most airlines offer tele-check-in (typically, frequent-flyers without check-in luggage) & city baggage check-in at their city offices for business & higher classes. In the case of BIA rail link, it was earlier planned that additionally, remote city check-in (including baggage check-in) would be available for all passengers who wish to check-in their luggage, irrespective of class, as an additional convenience due to the long distance – I am not sure if this is still valid, though. 

5)  There may be air travelers who might want to check-in their luggage in the city, but might not want to use the rail link & may prefer to travel by road – this will also need to be considered if a remote check-in facility is being considered by BIAL.

tsubba's picture

Airport link

thanks for that explanation. but all the issues you have raised are on the logistics side. for that perhaps they can invest in special rolling stock and retrofitting say about 5 stations across the city to have specials sections within the general station were in baggage checks are possible. the tracks themselves can be shared between airport trains and public trains. that way all of us benefit. meanwhile, vasanth's idea is doable. if brt line on ORR materializes (for which i think a dpr already exists in some cupboard in VS) then that will take a lot of air out of the concerns of east blr to airport issues.
Naveen's picture

BRT Solutions for BIAL



You have hit it right in the bull's eye - absolutely right !

BRT is the only sensible & practical solution for BIAL in the near (& long) term & should have been explored much more seriously. According to Devesh, it had been rejected as "allocating lanes would be a waste since there were not enough buses that will pass through it".

True, that may be so now. How about a few years down the line ? I think our decision makers are outright stupid & think about 'the next few months' & not 'the next few decades' as they should be doing - this is why all transport & road infrastructure is crumbling, & has been lagging behind by several years, if not decades. Their support has only been for private vehicle owners - this was a good chance to start changing this 'contagious' habit of using private vehicles, but alas ! We seem to have lost it.

The BIAL BRT corridor could have been a great opportunity to use the Bogota model for development - "Put the road with transport first, & development will follow behind". Well, development has already commenced at BIAL - but where is the transport ???

After so many experiences, they still refuse to learn. If you do not allocate Bus lanes right now when there is ample road width & lower traffic volumes, it is going to be very difficult & impossible to get it later as vehicle owners & motorists have a funny way of imagining that the road belongs to them & they cannot get off it since it has always been their turf !


Big ticket items such as Hi-Speed Rail, Metro, Elevated roads, get a lot more attention than simple, much less expensive & practical solutions such as the BRTS - what a shame !

Devesh's picture

BRT to BIAL - Discussed and rejected

In the high level task force this concept was discussed and rejected.  Within the city there is no road space, and buses need to be on the left side to facilitate bus stops.

Beyond Hebbal flyover, the dedicated Vayu Vajra and Suvarna buses are too few in frequency. Only the 40 Vayu Vajra are dedicated low stop buses. That is one bus every 10~20 minutes, and that makes it a complete waste of road resource. 



Devesh R. Agarwal

Visit my aviation blog at


Bangalore Aviation
Enjoy life, destroy FUD
Bengloorappa's picture

How about a Hybrid solution

How about a Hybrid solution that uses BRT in the initial stages and gives us time to integrate Phase 1 and parts of Phase-2 Metro infrastructure with the Airport rail link ?

1. BRT as Phase 1 of Airport link - Run BRT based Volvo buses from all corners of the city to provide efficient and fast access to BIAL. Let the idea sink-in that an Airport link doesnt necessarily mean fast rail access and it will help the planners and implementers buy time, maybe till 2011.

2. "Metro Airport express" as part of Metro Phase 2 - Work with Namma Metro to create a semi-dedicated route to the Airport by building parts of Phase-2 infrastructure ahead of schedule, so that the rail link to the Airport is not exclusive to the Airport and Metro Phase-2 will use parts of the Airport link when ready.

In the picture above, the route from Cantt. to Yelahanka can be re-used by Namma Metro as part of Phase-2 EC to Yelehanka alignment.

Run 2 or more Airport coaches coaches at any given time from Byappanahalli, Mysore Road Terminal, R.V. Road Terminal and Yeshwantpur, all converging at BRV Grounds. Then at BRV Grounds they all join to form a single Metro Airport express and run on the Airport link corridor to BIAL via Yelahanka.

This avoids cost of redundant infrastructure and also adds convenience of connectivity from any part of the city.

bangalore-guy's picture

Any solution should not be exclusively for BIAL.

I am not very open to ideas of connecting only the BIAL. What I have been suggesting all through is that the BIAL should not be the only point of concern here. If the solution to connect BIAL doesnt allow other people living in the same route to use the infrastructure it is a waste of resources.

Whereas BRT is a good suggestion. But BRT exclusively for BIAL bound buses is as big a mistake as a exclusive dedicated rail link is.

Because while you are using up the precious land/road resources you are not using it optimally and inclusively.

We know not all the people going to BIAL will use public transport. Even if 30-40% of the BIAL bound travellers take the public transport it will be quite optimistic. So just for the sake of 30% of BIAL bound passengers if we make dedicated Rail-links and BRT's it will be highly unfair on the other people of the region, who would be more than happy to use convenient public transport for daily commute.

And hence my initial thought centred around taking the metro to the BIAL. And now bangloorappa, naveen and others have suggested the BRT as a quick solution. So, even the BRT should be used for all buses plying to the area and not only the ones going to BIAL. Only then can we make optimal use of resources.

Bengloorappa's picture


I tend to agree with you bangalore-guy.
Airport rail link should not be 100% exclusive, which is why I have proposed that it be implemented ahead of Metro Phase-2, with maximal re-use by Metro.

But, there are and will be people who do not want to be bothered by frequent stops and a long journey to the airport, which is easily addressed by using an semi-exclusive Airport express with limited stops. Maximum benefits can be drawn from optimal sharing of costly infrastructure.

I guess the same applies more-or-less to a BRT solution as well; Experts please comment.

Naveen's picture

BRT for BIAL - Not Exclusive for Airport


Hi Devesh,

The task force may be for the airport link & related infratrsucture (?) & have probably seen it only from that angle alone & rejected it as airport-link buses may be too few at the commencement of operations from the airport.

Creating bus-exclusive corridors is not with the idea of using it only for airport link services, but also for all other public transport buses, which are going to grow many times fold soon with the opening of the airport & as development increases all along the road.

If this is not correctly anticipated & planned for now, the beautiful, grand 6-lane road to 'zoom' on, as we see it now, will go to dogs with heavy volumes of private traffic as there may not be a sustainable good, fast public service along this road (the hi-speed train or Metro will remain a distant dream as costs are exorbitant & it takes a lot of time to build it !). Airport-link & all other buses are going to be caught up in the quagmire of mixed traffic that will fight for space & it will take many hours to get to the airport as compared to the 1 hour now, for sure within a few years !

BRTS within the city with narrow street widths can still be planned though many feel it's impossible without pondering too much over it - see this link :

BRTS related infrastructure can be insalled much faster & at a fraction of the cost when compared to all forms of fixed guide systems like Metro/Mono or Hi-speed rail.


Sanjeev's picture

In Mumbai, AIrport METRO cost beeing recovered from AIr passeng

Consultation Paper No. 09/2015-16 Determination of Development Fee in respect of the Metro Connectivity Project for Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai

Following need to be deliberated and how Govt can burden only Air Passengers for all reasons and wants Air fares to come down ???

1. For future cost of cosntruction, why present air passenger need to  pay : For future construction of METRO, why present air passenger who is flyoing or landing need to pay. When he is not even using presently.

2. METRO to AIrport is not exclusive for Air PAssenger :

METRO connectivity will improve transport to Airport. This will be used  by different segment of citizens who travell to Airport : Example AIr Passengers, Crews, Ground handling staff, visitors to airport, Air line staff, people who work in business centers, and so on. So the METRO connectivity is not exclusive for the AIr PAssengers.

3. Other Airports,  Air Passengers are not burdened : In case of Hyderabad, Calcutta, Chennai, Airport ,  connectivity by METRO or Rail is taken care by Central and state govt

4. METRO is urban Transport :   As such METRO which is funded by MOUD and state govt., METRO implementation to Airport will reduce traffic congestion on Mumbai Roads, hence city is getting benifited directly. Hence its more logical for MOUD and Maharastra state govt to fund the  METRO connectivity to AIrport  Rs 518 Crore and recover same from   differential ticke pricing for the AIrport METRO station.

Sanjeev's picture

Since 2008 this post discussing about METRO extension

Interesting to see How GOK  has ensured all projects of public transport are suffered.

With 9 years,  still we are debating   what will be good for airport as mass transport ???


Sanjeev's picture

(No subject)

when wil lGOK spend money other then METRO comment guidelines

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