Bengaluru Commuter Rail Service can be profitable within a year!

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Any public service entity would attract a microscopic view of its financial viability. Given the poor performance of many state run transport services and even Delhi Metro, it is not unexpected for somebody to question the financial viability of proposed Bengaluru Commuter Rail Service (CRS), aka Namma Railu.

After doing some in-depth reading of Hyderabad MMTS RTI information available on web (scribd and slideshare) and   extrapolating the same to Bengaluru CRS, it can safely be said that Bengaluru CRS would be financially viable and  marginally profitable within year of operations. It goes without saying the need for excellent execution of SPV and operational skills.

Based on the computed numbers, Bengaluru CRS would earn about 30 lakhs to 37 lakhs daily, depending upon avg ticket price against the daily operational cost of about Rs.26 lakhs to 29 lakhs. Isn't it a great proposition? In addition, more revenue can be earned via advertising, parking, sponsors, more ridership etc.

One may ask how could this be? Hopefully the below computations would answer that question.

Bengaluru CRS

Total # of Proposed services per day = 160
Total # of Rakes (6-Car) required to cover 6 routes = 24

Then, each rake would do = 160/24 = 6.66 services per day.

The average distance per route per each service is = 376/6 = 63 Kms ~= 65 Kms.
Therefore each rake per day would cover a distance of = 65 x 6.66 = 433 Kms.

Operational Expenses

Based on Hyderabad MMTS RTI Information, the avergae cost of fuel per KM per rake is = Rs. 44.

Based on Rs. 44 pkm rate,
Fuel Cost for one rake per day = 44 x 433 = 19052.

 MMTS reports the per rake total per day operational cost excluding the Fuel cost is = Rs.88,553
Assuming this to be the same for Bengaluru CRS,

Total cost of operation per rake per day including Fuel cost = 88553 + 19052 = Rs. 1,07,607

For 24 rakes, total operational cost would be = 24 X 107607 = Rs. 25,82,568 ~= 26 Lakhs

If an additional 15% is added to the Non-Fuel operation cost = 15% x 88553 + 88553 = 13282 + 88553 = Rs. 1,01,836
Adding the fuel cost of Rs. 19052 to the above cost = 101836 + 19052 = Rs. 1,20,888.

For 24 rakes, total oeprationla cost would be = 24 X 120888 = Rs.29,01,312 ~= Rs. 29 Lakhs

Revenue Generation
In the Namma Railu call to action report, a figure of 1.5 lakh ridership is mentioned.

Per MMTS RTI reply, for 6-Car Rake, maximum capacity given is = 1972

Looking at the 1.5 Lakh ridership with 160 services, the ridership per rake come sto 50% = 937.5

At 50% ridership,

@ Rs.20/- as average ticket price, daily earnings would be = 150000 x 20 = Rs 30,00,000 = Rs. 30 Lakhs
@ Rs 25/- as the average ticket price, daily earnings would be = 150000 x 25 = Rs.37,50,000 ~= Rs. 37.5 lakhs

Revenue From other sources:
MMTS reported  the daily earnings from Advertisement = Rs. 55,000
MMTS reported daily earnings from Parking = Rs.65,000

Note: Have not computed the comparable earnings for Bengaluru CRS.


The above computations are based on 50% occupancy and MMTS costs. This goes without saying that if the SPV for Bengaluru CRS is executed and operationalized right with good integration with other Public Transports services and last mile connectivity, higher ridership revenue can be achieved. Along with aggressive marketing approach non-ridership revenue can be exploited.

The word 'Profit' here doesn't mean to be exorbitantly high which could put a burden on ridership cost. Here profit is meant to be very modest that would take care of any additional expenditure like higher fuel cost, service improvements and technological improvements. Basically service to be financially independent.

On top of it the immense socio-economic benefits CRS would bring in would be a WIN-WIn situation for governments, public and the city.


ABengaluru Commuter Rail Service can be profitable in ONE YEAR.pdf171.59 KB


what about advertising?

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Yes Syed..the ticket costs will make CRS a very goo option for we know trains are way cheaper then bussess too!

Was looking at the current scenario I understand CRS type train lines currently active in blr are:

1. YPR- CHikkaballapur - almost not used at all

2. YPR - Hosur(Salem Passngr included) - moderately used

3. SBC - Bangarpet(marikuppam?) - popular

4. SBC - Nelamangala - Will be introduced this month

I was wondering if 'Bus Day' style promotion is necessary for these commuter rails too..not many people know that such option exisit currently..that the train winding through their locality stopping at some derelict station eventually travels to their work place..

ticket cost is the usp...this along with 'fast' 'safe', 'no traffic' kinda definitions shd drive CRS I guess

Good calculations Syed. 30

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Good calculations Syed. 30 lakhs operating expense on the rolling stock can be recovered by ticket costs. Other capex on stations & tracks can be met by commercializing the stations & allowing ads on trains etc. At full occupancy this system will pay for itself many times over. 

Sri, I guess we can try to take up a bus day type proposition to the DRM. We have the list of currently running 28 up-down services in the report. Also a couple of up-down trips got added in the new Nelamangala segment.

Good Calculation but ticket price is a bit expensive!!

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Hi Syed You really did your homework very well and u seem to be good at Maths ;)

The  imp thing which you have taken taken into consideration is ticket price.

Just refer below the prices of MMTS in hyderabad:


Distance(km) Rate(INR)
0-10 2
10-15 2
15-20 3
20-25 4
25-30 5
30-35 7
35-40 9 

This is what i feel the  ticket price should be as it  plays a vital role.

Secondly There should be enough stations in Sub-urbs to make it Effective.As MMTS(Hyd) has approximately 40 Stations in Sub-urbs at important junctions.This will also attract a large no of commuters.

Thirdly all the Sub-urb Stations should be connected using double rail lines. As i am from hyderabad and have been in Bangalore for the past 10 months ,i really dont know whether the Sub-urbs have double rail  lines.As this also plays vital role in maintaining the frequency of Trains.



YPR -Hosur

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i guess giving 1 rail a day wont help,

12255 Yesvantpur Puducherr... GR YPR* 23:15 HSRA 00:26 1h 11m
67 km n/a 17m late
16527 Yesvantpur Kannur Ex... Exp YPR* 20:00 HSRA 21:23 1h 23m
II     SL             3A     2A    
67 km 7m late 7m late
56242 Yesvantpur Salem pas... Pass YPR* 16:05 HSRA 17:31 1h 26m
128 km on time 27m late
06593 Yeshvantapur Hosur P... Spl YPR* 15:35 HSRA* 17:05 1h 30m
128 km n/a on time
06591 Yesvantapur Hosur pa... Spl YPR* 06:20 HSRA* 07:55 1h 35m
128 km n/a n/a

These are all the trains to Hosur from YPR ,none of them are convenient. How do you expect to be profitable?

We need 1 train every 30 mins or hour for anyone to switch from bus to train or even call it a commuter rail.

Good Syed, going forward

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Taking into consideration whatever you calculated, we will take it up as soon as we are asked about the profiable business model, before that I would suggest, lets try to market it well, make people aware of trains running today, stops of these local trains, and how trains can reduce their time and traffic as well. What we can do -

 Lets try to identify area around every station, lets say a circle of radius 3-4 kms around a current station. For example, for the kermelram, people staying on the sarjapur road belt and want to travel to KR Puram or whitefield or Hebbal or anywhere in betweebn, lets try to give a very detailed and proper way of using the CRS. I mean, properly explain them, that they can take public transport to this stop, and then take a train from there, in just 5 Rs, you can reach this point etc.
Also, if they want to take private vehicle, take it, drive it 3-4 kms till karmelram station, park it there wherever you find space (lets just let them park anywhere), and board the train, let them get amused by the time benefit they are going to get.

Doing this-

(1) We will able to make more and more people aware of trains, benefit of trains in their commutation, as well as increase the demand of the train.

(2) Parking their private vehicles will help us show authorities that people are using it, more will use it, give them good parking space outside these stations and make it paid. These way, we are showing people proper ways to use the CRS (kind of spoon feeding), but once they are used to it, they will demand for more such and then it will help us in putting more pressure.

(3) We will get lot more people support in asking increased frequence, better coaches, AC coaches etc etc, better paid parking outside stations, may be a few feeder BMTC services which can help BMTC as well etc etc


Tkt prices

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The  imp thing which you have taken taken into consideration is ticket price.

Because of the tkt prices in MMTS it is actually undergoing a loss & is being used as a stick to beat up the concept altogether. Discounts on tickes should be given in the form of special pass to the EWS folks. People like me who can afford R25 should be allowed to pay for it. Also distances in the proposed Bangalore commuter rail suburbs are more than double the maximum distance in MMTS. Do go thru the call to action report in the project thread.

properly explain them, that

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properly explain them, that they can take public transport to this stop, and then take a train from there, in just 5 Rs, you can reach this point etc.

Last trip Raja showed up & took the initiative of popularizing the train around Kaggadasapura where he lives, he also wrote to people in the area. We need more Raja's. Try this around your individual areas & report back here. All material required are available in this site, there is a one pager handout in one of the blogs under the project which can be printed. Myself & Sanjeev have a couple of 100 copies of this handout which we can share if you want.

sure, I will do my bit

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Thanks for the info, I will take the prinout whatever necessary.
Also, before that I will try to myself do some more homework and map a few areas and spread the information.


MMTS is being run on loss of 32 Crores per year!

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Aniketh, Bhushan,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and perspectives. Regarding MMTS ticket prices, per their RTI responses, the average ticket price comes to RS. 3/-. Result is the loss of 32.09 Crores in 2009-10.

For year 2009-10, MMTS Reports (via RTI Reply)

Total working Expenditure - Rs. 47.97 Crores

Total Earnings - Rs. 15.07 Crores

Loss = Rs. 32.90 Crores

% of Loss = 68.57%


In 2009-10, MMTS Hyderabad,

Total ridership  = 4,30,13,438 (Full Year)

Total Ticket Earnings = Rs. 12,39,09,695 (Full Year)

That makes average ticket price to be = Earnings/Ridership = Rs. 2.88


Looking at the above numbers, should we also emulate the same operational philosophy? If yes, then who would bear the loss? Ultimately it would be the tax payers like you.

Secondly There should be enough stations in Sub-urbs to make it Effective.As MMTS(Hyd) has approximately 40 Stations in Sub-urbs at important junctions.This will also attract a large no of commuters.

The Praja Call to action Report proposes 35 New stations in addition to existing 58 stations. That makes it total of 93 Stations.

In conclusion, I would suggest that you go through the Praja's CRS campaign discussions and reports.

CRS Discussion and Crowd Sourcing

Call to Action Report

CRS Journey So Far

What is a reasonable ticket fare for CRS?

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One way to price the CRS tickets is to look at the operational cost plus marginal profit. Then weigh in concessions to be given to the various categories of riders - BPL families, Seniors, Students/Teachers, State/Central recognized public figures etc. I am sure there is a science which deals this issue in scientific and analytical way.

Here is an comparison of different modes and their ridership cost.

Comparative Analysis - Case Study of Existing YPR-Hosur passenger service from Railways

YPR-Hosur Rail Service BY CRS  Bys Bus By Car  By 2Whlr
Distance in Kms 66 Kms 66 Kms 66 Kms 66 Kms
Travel Time 80 Mins 180 Mins 140 Mins 120 Mins
Rider Capacity per trip (Avg) 975 50 3 1
Commute Cost/ Fare per Trip per person Rs. 14/- Rs. 60 Rs. 100 Rs. 70
Fuel Consumption/Cost Rs. 2000/- Rs. 675 Rs. 300 Rs. 70
Fuel Operational Efficiency per Rider for this journey Rs. 2.05 Rs. 13.5 Rs.100 Rs. 70



Hope this helps in understanding the ticket pricing.

enough stations?

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There should be enough stations in Sub-urbs to make it Effective.As MMTS(Hyd) has approximately 40 Stations in Sub-urbs at important junctions

Enough stations is subjective, MMTS doesnt cover large distances and hence can afford to stop more, In case of Bengaluru commuter rail the stops will need to be balanced. It will definitely be more than what we have now but not as frequent as a metro.

For example between Hebbal & Bellandur on the YH1 route there is only Banaswadi station leaving wide swathes of the city inaccessible to the train. One between Banaswadi & Hebbal & another to allow access to the Byappanahalli interchange & OMR will be bare minimum additions. The report however proposes additional useful stations at important juctions which can be considered based on the feeder serices & accessibility needs.

Pricing for CRS

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Couple of thoughts with respect to this issue.

From the consumer perspective, following comparision table should be drawn.

What will be the per KM cost if one needs to take a public/private  transport based on convenience /time spect etc? This can also guide the more attractive pricing from customer perspective and as well as prove financially viable from the authorities perspective.

Currently the consumers have the following options.

1. BMTC ( Various types)  2. Own Bike 3. Autos 4. Taxis  5. Own Car  ( Possibly in that order of price and affordability).

For a 10 KM ride I have an approximate estimate.


Mode 10 KM cost
BMTC - Normal Rs 12
Bike Rs 20 ( both capital + fuel)
Auto Rs 85
Taxi (Rs 15/KM) Rs 150
Own Car - Self Driven ( Rs 7/km capital, Rs 7/KM for fuel) Rs 140
Own Car - With Driver (Rs 7/km) Rs 210

Can somebody through further  light in this angle?





Here is a paper on public

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Here is a paper on public transport pricing.

Remember there are other avenues than just ticket prices for revenue generation. Commuter rail can create passenger traffic for outlier stations & trains to become revenue generators. Having minimal utilities can make the place a hub, an ATM, a coffee shop, a post office, an eatery. Some of the things that will make people use the station for more than just travel.

ISEC to help fix Metro fares

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The Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) will help Mtro fix the fares based on inputs from the studies.

An MoU has been signed between Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL) and ISEC. The latter will conduct studies from time to time.

Courtesy - Deccan Chronicle


“The key objective for ISEC is to develop a strong analytical tool for fare fixation and evolve some principles on which tariffs could be fixed and calibrated periodically against indices,” said a BMRCL spokesperson.

Increase in Diesel Prices will make Commuter Rail as prefered PT

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Just over a month after the petrol price was hiked by Rs 5 per litre, the government on Friday increased the prices of LPG by Rs 50 per cylinder, diesel Rs 3 a litre and PDS kerosene Rs 2 per litre, burning a hole in the pocket of the common man.

As Energy prices goes up,  citizens will gradually shift to Public Transport like Commuter Rail, BMTC & METRO. 

As we have seen over couple of months,  fuel prices are going upwards,  now Govt should give more focus on PT like Commuter Rail with last mile connectivty by BMTC. 

With this current prices, what will be the fare cost of METRO &  HSRL ????