Suburban Rail - Plan for capacities lasting 50 years, says Abhijit Mehta!

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Commuter Rail

Abhijit Mehta, an Urban Transport expert who has extensive familiarity with urban transport landscape in Mumbai including famous MRVC advises Bangalore Suburban Rail proposal to account for capacities that will serve for next 50 Years. Here are his words,

"...Good Morning Mr ........

Thank you for your kind word on the MRVC presentation. Sir, as far as funding is considered, it will always be a 50:50 partnership between the centre and the state government. Railways have a legal monopoly on any kind of railways in India. The Mumbai metro is built on the tramway act to bypass railways.
 I would strongly recommend not to go for a PPP model. A Transit Oriented Development of the suburban railway is a much better funding mechanism. No suburban rail system runs on fare box collections, it is not a profit making enterprise.
The other red flag I would like to raise is the capacity, almost all DPRs I have read, generally provide for 15% less capacity on peak traffic expected in 25 yrs. this is most unwise, because once you hit capacity, you cannot rebuild your suburban rail network to accommodate additional capacity. I would suggest some very sophisticated matrix to estimate capacity for next fifty years and then tie it into the potential land use, the municipal government's buy in us essential.
Lastly, I would strongly recommend an integrated planning with other modes of transportation with sufficient capacity. In Bombay we are facing this challenge and all solutions involve land acquisition, meaning it is almost impossible to implement. And also any change in the suburban railway network is almost impossible, because the Bangalore system will be eventual run by railway officials in Delhi.

I hope I have answered your questions to your satisfaction, if there is anymore that I can contribute, feel free to email me or call me on 9XXXX XXXXX.
My very best for the Suburban railway in Bangalore.
This was in response to our query for his esteem thought on proposed Bangalore Suburban Rail Service.




Plan for 50 years, Well said Abhijit Mehta !

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Dear Abhijit Mahta,

Thanks for your esteems thoughts and advice. Your advice for planning for 50 years is very well taken and we should consider it seriously.

Thank you, once again for responidng to our request.


Mumbai - Ribbon development along rail tracks

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Ribbon development of the city along a set of rail tracks with severe land scarcity & commuters traveling only North-South is what Mumbai's development has been for long. This type of development is unique to only Mumbai & naturally results in increasing number of commuters over longer & longer distances. None of the other cities will ever have such high commuter volumes in a single direction since they would be traveling in many different directions. In fact, commuter rail ridership increases have been low in all other cities, even if there are increases.

Abhijit Mehta is probably quoting experiences from Mumbai suburban system whose DPRs may have consistently erred on the lower side by 15% - this explains the heavily over-loaded trains there. Since track additions in Mumbai have already reached limits as also train frequencies, a 20500 crs PPP is now being planned for an elevated rail "expressway" between Virar & Churchgate (60km long).

As we know, the problem for Bangalore is not about track capacity on outer fringe routes but within the city. If tracks are minimally augmented & space provided for stabling & pit lines with Binny Mill land, it should take care of the needs far into the future as train frequencies can be increased.

MRVC to deploy 18 escalators at Dadar, more FOBs,

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Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) has drawn up an elaborate plan to revamp Dadar station for faster dispersal of commuters. The plan includes one escalator each at all the platforms and inter-connection of old and new FOBs.

An MRVC official said, “The plan includes extending the 12-metre-wide FOB at Dadar station right up the main arterial road (Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Road).” There would be one exit at Swaminarayan Temple, too.

If the plan materializes, Dadar will have a total of 18 escalators, including 12 by MRVC. Six escalators had already been approved.

The state government had earlier asked MRVC to prepare a comprehensive plan that would dovetail the requirement of not just the station but also area in the vicinity.

Look at how Mumbai urban transport by Suburban rail is progressing.  Even in Whole Karnataka,  we will not get 18  Escalators for Public Transport.  18 of them are planned in one big station.  Even in Big Airports,  we may not have these many escalators. 

Other  thing  State Govt of MH is asking to prepare a comprehensive plan that would dovetail the requirement of not just the station but also area in the vicinity.

@ Naveen

Leave about ribbon development,  either GOK / BMRC / SWR / BBMP / BDA / BMTC will not  do any thing arround Majestic & City station integration with Metro Bangalore City Station, BMTC and Pedestrians.

Similalry already we r seeing bad thing at Bayyappanahlli and Yesvanthpur.  Its GOK which has to take control of the situation of City mess and invest in public Transport  of Suburban Rail with good intentions within time limit by Engaging SWR. 

GOK can't blame on SWR,  if it wants Bangalore city to sustain,  then GOK has to work hard on these instead of delegating the things to  BMRC, BIA, Airport Express Highway &  NICE. 

Look at how GOK has messed itself on Hassan - Mangalore Rail Development Corproation ( HMRDC ).  GOK  has got mindset of just washing its hands by handing over the things to other party like BIAL, NICE, HMRDC. 


How RLDA is planning to use land arround City Station ???

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Bangalore City on Platform Road and Cantonment station MFC

66. SWR Bangalore city - On platform road 1.01 in Ha Development Agreement & Lease Agreement signed. Re-development work completed.Development- plan is to be approved by Local Authority

67 SWR Bangalore-Bangalore Cantonement 1.71 in Ha Final report under CMC examination.

This shows railway has sufficient land around city station and their is no will either from SWR / MP's / MLA's to take forward the Commuter Rail.

Looking at how Vechile Parking revenue Tenders called by SWR

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At Tumkur Station,  minimum  Revenue  expected by SWR is 14 Lakhs per annum

At Kengeri Station,  minimum  Revenue  expected by SWR is 18 Lakhs per annum

At  Mandya Station,  minimum  Revenue  expected by SWR is 18 Lakhs per annum

Display of advertisement through fleet graphic films by full wrapping/painting of the exterior of train. No.12493/94,12430/29 Rajadhani express

Revenue expected  Rs 1 Crore per Annum,3

So one can calculate how much revenue increase due to Suburban Rail implementation  for SWR.

Two wheeler Parking fees at City station, Whitefield, Yelahanka

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At  Bangalore City Station 2nd Entry,  minmum reserve  prices  Rs 2.34 Crore / 3 Years. That Means SWR expecting  Rs 80 Lakhs / One Year.

At Whitefield Railway Station : Rs 40 Lakhs / 3 Years

At Yelahanka Railway Station : Rs 25 Lakhs / 3 Years.

These amounts SWR able to earn in the absence of Commuter Rail / Suburban Rail.  Above commercial values shows how  Railways can earn good amount of Non-Ticketing revenues from different revenue streams.


How HMRDC SPV against Passenger Traffic movement / GOK mess

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Look at how GOK has messed itself on Hassan - Mangalore Rail Development Corproation ( HMRDC ).  GOK  has got mindset of just washing its hands by handing over the things to other party like BIAL, NICE, HMRDC. 

Even though GOK is major share holder,  does not act like that

Page 19 of  Concessional agreement between GOK 42% and Indian Railway 40% and rest by 9% NMPT, 9% by Mineral Enterprises Limited

5.2.2 Subject to the requirements of normal operation and discipline of

traffic movement including observance of operation restrictions,

quota, ceiling limits etc. imposed by Railways from time to time,

SWR shall move the traffic originating/ terminating either from/ at

New Mangalore Port/ Hassan on priority after meeting the passenger

traffic requirements.

Page No 25 / 26 :

c. SWR shall be entitled to run on the Project Railway, the

equivalent of the passenger services that already was


operational on the MG track in the Project Area without

payment of any access charges. Provided, however that, any

new passenger service on the Project Railway shall be

commenced only with the prior written consent of HMRDC.

The way concessional agreemnt made by GOK,  its against the interest of Karnataka people even though 42% stake owned by GOK.  So even KRIDE is burden on GOK looking at the past histroy of its performance. 

So its very clear GOK or even IDD are  very poor in handling PPP or SPV  projects be it  BIAL, NICE, BETAL or Airport Elevated Express Highway