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Questions about MRTS Bangalore

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Metro RailTraffic

Hi! My letter to be sent to BMRCL is as follows - please review & advise your comments, thanks.
Pertaining to the Metro & Mono-Rail for Bangalore, I request you to please advise me on the following queries that I have under the RTI Act.

1) The total length in phase-1 is abt 41 kms (less than 7km underground in CBD/dense areas). Studies by RITEs /iDeck reveal that even with the commissioning of NS & EW Metro lines as also Commuter rail services, congestion will not reduce significantly on several (52) key internal roads. Why is a more extensive Metro coverage not being pursued seriously & quickly ? Why are new alignments not frozen to work on financials & carry out the long processes before actual construction begins in order to solve transport problems expeditiously for hapless commuters ? In comparison, Delhi, which has an excellent road network, has frozen alignments for a vast Metro system over 230 kms (Four phases) & is quickly building phases I & II for completion by 2010 (with over 40kms underground in dense areas).
Other examples are :
Cheng Du (pop. 10 million) - 274km by 2035.
HoChiMin (pop.3.5 million) - 195km by 2020.
Hangzhou (pop. 7 million) - 278km by 2035.
Shanghai (pop. 15 million) - 300km by 2025.

2) Is the target set for the Metro system for 2021 of 16.1 lakh commuters (at 15% traffic handling) appropriate ? Is it not desirable that a much larger volume be handled by the system & that mass transit systems eventually replace BMTC as the prime /preferred means for commuting to ensure that road traffic & pollution do not continue to remain excessive ?

3) The planned alignments for NS & EW Metro lines cover very little of the city’s central areas. Many cities such as Chicago & Marseille have a complete (underground) loop of several Metro lines in downtown, which enable commuters to alight close to their destinations & reduce the need for road-based public transport within CBDs. Delhi Metro is also planning Metro alignments similarly.
Cannot Bangalore try to emulate these examples since the problem of road congestion can be dealt with far more effectively, & perhaps permanently with such an arrangement ? Is such a plan or any other non-road based system such as metro lines for various destinations that intersect at key nodes in different parts of CBDs under consideration ? Will this not positively minimize people from bringing their private vehicles into CBDs ? Will this not make it easier to regulate & impose traffic restrictions as needed by authorities as & when required ?

4) To explain my point, two maps of the city’s proposed transport system, as is being planned for by about 2015 (if all planned modes materialize) are attached. On Map-1 (, metro routes for Phase-2 are approximately what may be being planned since it may be easy to build, less expensive & palatable to the public since disruptions would be fewer. Map-2 ( shows routes for Phase-2 which are more realistic & in tune with needs. The route from Marathalli to Trinity circle has been extended passing through Richmond road up to Corporation & thence to Lal Bagh West (via JC Rd).
The alignment has parts of it similar to what was proposed earlier for ELRTS. The other line from Silk-board junction to Hebbal is aligned through Diary circle, KH road, elevated over the Storm drain to Lalbagh Road, Mission Rd, Corporation, Kasturba road, Minsk square, Balekundry circle, Cant Rly Stn. & Mekhri Circle. Some sections will have to be underground & minimum private land acquisition will be involved for such a routing (as is being done for the NS & EW routes). Also, the route from Bannerghatta is shown extended from Adugodi thro’ Shoolay circle, Residency road, Mayo Hall, MG Rd & around Dickenson road to terminate near Commercial Street.

Such a network, together with Phase-1 routes complete several “loops” & provides good connectivity within CBDs with interchanges & is far more functional (with seven interchange nodes at Majestic, Lal bagh West, Corporation, Cricket stadium, Trinity circle, Dairy circle & at Shoolay circle). The need to provide road based public transport within CBDs will be greatly minimized, private vehicles can be reduced drastically & road traffic regulated &/or restricted much more easily. Richmond Rd, which frequently gets clogged during school times is also covered, but this section may have to be underground. The additional expenditure & disruption during construction will definitely be worth since this routing, together with the NS & EW routes covers most parts of CBDs.
Is such a routing not feasible ? Is it not sensible to get a good network in place within CBDs at the earliest as it will become more & more difficult later ? Will a similar layout not serve the needs of the public better ?

5) Three Monorail corridors are proposed on ring road & one along Bannerghatta road recommended by the study report by RITES Ltd, based on requirements for year 2021 & the MRMRTS project is being pursued. Since the cost for a Monorail system is only marginally lesser than an elevated Metro system, why is an elevated Metro system (or at grade, if feasible) not being considered for the ORR & Bannerghatta road (upto IIM), both of which appear to be headed for very high growth ? If running cost/s are going to be high (such as power consumption, etc.) & capacity is excessive for the present, cannot the no. of trains operating on these (presently) lower density corridors be fewer in no. & with fewer coaches initially (which will also lower initial costs) & when eventually density increases, as it is bound to, the system can be expanded by increasing the no. of trains & adding coaches as necessary, without having to debate endlessly as to what is to be done & then, finally cause more disruptions & waste funds by investing again in other system/s ?

6) Monorail was pursued by one prominent politician claiming much lower costs & ease of installation. However, this is not really the case as cost comparisons have shown & viaducts would still have to be put up. Is it not true that the Monorail system for ORR /BG Rd is being planned to reach a 'balance' within political circles & with a motive to 'please all' & not in tune with the reality of serious road congestion /transport problems that are staring us in the face & seem to threaten to be a bigger horror in the future (maybe after 2021, if not earlier) unless proper steps are taken immediately to address long term solutions ? Monorail systems in cities such as Sydney have not been much of a success & their capacity, as we know has limitations. Also, Monorail is generally designed for less denser routes & may work well for the airport–city link as also for connections to theme parks such as Bannerghatta National Park or to amusement /entertainment destinations on Mysore road, but here we are, planning to put it up on a 6-lane road with rapid growth & dense urbanization all along ! Is Monorail, which has only about 1/4th or 1/3rd the capacity of a Metro system, really suitable in the long run along these routes ?

7) A rapid bus system, running on dedicated corridors is being proposed from the northern side to the eastern /southern sides on the ring road (from Bellary road – Old Madras road – to Hosur road). This low cost bus system can perhaps cater to the immediate needs, if planned correctly (in Pune, it has been a total failure !) but, since the growth rates are already very high along ORR on the north-eastern & south-eastern sides & will catch up elsewhere, is it not appropriate to also pursue Metro routes in the long-term for the entire ORR, particularly since it would, in conjunction with the other ‘through the core’ Metro corridors provide good connectivity to the IT hubs in the south-east, as also provide for other commuting needs all around the city ?

8) The approximate total length of an elaborate & effective Mass transport system for public transport, as can be visualized now with easy options for further expansion would only be about 170 kms as follows :
1st Phase – 41 kms appx (NS & EW lines)
2nd Phase – 40 kms appx (Silkboard~Hebbal via Corpn, Cant & Marathalli~Lalbagh W)
ORR & connecting laps – 90 kms appx

The response & development of infrastructure appear too slow & as ad-hoc 'arrangements' to tide over the problem for the present. Long term permanent solutions are not being fully & properly worked out, addressed or concentrated upon & remedies are not being put in place in good time with endless debate. We have Beijing as an example where with high growth rates & excessive dependence on road based systems, & even after five ring roads, traffic & pollution continue to be serious problems with a subway system that is ineffective.

Bangalore appears to be heading in the same direction – though it is very obvious that if a good transport network is not in place quickly, the city will lose out on it’s prominent IT status & become highly inefficient.

Is it not prudent for BMRC, the body mandated to plan & provide mass transit systems, to prepare blue-prints for a long term strategy & work towards achieving it rather than work in installments as is the case now & has been all along with road /transport infrastructure planning in the city ? Why are projected statistics for 2021 being used as the bottom-line /benchmark for all mass transport development plans ? Would it not be wiser to look even further, now that an authority is in place & prepare a road map that will allow for quicker & easier additions & expansions in handling capacities as & when required anytime, even after 2021, rather than react only after commuters & the general public have been harassed & subjected to years of heavy road congestion & a great deal of inconveniences ? An example is the lack of thrust on the new airport transport link/s that has been criticized even by the aviation ministry.

Clearly, Bangalore has been lagging far behind in creating transport infrastructure in tune with the needs & in due time. Can this never change, even after a Mass transit authority is in place ?

JNNURM guidelines emphasize the need to encourage public transport. The UN State of the World Population 2007 Report states that over 40% of the country’s population will live in urban areas by about 2030, & Bangalore with an already high growth rate, will certainly see further growth rapidly, particularly since more & more jobs are being created each day here, climate is conducive, quality of life & the water situation at the moment is far better than most other metros. The city is bound to double it’s population within the next 15-20 years, given it’s increasing cosmopolitan character. However, there does not seem to be enough thrust in long-term transport infrastructure development strategies & the 'adjust maadi' culture seems set to continue until at some stage, total breakdown is reached.

Awaiting your response,


silkboard's picture

promoted Naveen's comment ...

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... to a blog entry.
tsubba's picture


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naveen, first i must really thank you for this commendable job. you hve not only raised questions but taken the pain to identify potential solutions in detail.

next, here are some initial suggestions: please reframe the questions so that they are not answerable in yes/no. instead ask the questions so that they will be forced to provide an explanation. irrespective of how much justification you provide, if the question begins with "is it" then they only have to say "yes" or "no". Instead try to formulate the question in terms of "what", "how", "why not", so that they will be forced to think about your point and make an explanation. the danger is not in them answering in yes and no but in us not knowing the reason behind the yes and no.

now that you have given us the lead, we can all work on this together. It will be great if praja folks can take up one question that naveen has raised and reformulate it.

additional questions:

we need to put in a question that asks them how much they are tied to the CDP. With so many of Bangalore's roads setup for redevelopment because of CDP, how do does public transport factor that in?

if money is a problem, what are the plans to get private money in? why not break bangalore into zone's like vikash proposes and then invite private players to come up with solutions for that zone?

Naveen's picture

MRTS - Questions

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TS - noted. Yr point taken - will rephrase & post. The alignments thro' JC Rd, Richmond Rd & Residency Rd had already been in the pipeline during the ELRTS project. Also, I understand that thro' shoolay is already being planned by BMRCL in Ph-2. The additions are only the ones thro' Hosur Rd, KH Rd, Mission Rd, Corpn & Kasturba Rd, & all these seem faesible for elevated sections, I feel.
tsubba's picture

Metro Cost - Hyd Model?

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This is how Hyderabad is going about its metro... Covering 67 kilometres and over three routes, this project is bigger than the Delhi Metro and has a timeframe of 35 years. This is the first metro transport project in the country being developed under the public, private participatory (PPP) model, and is being cited as a flagship project for replication in other cities. This is unlike other metro projects under implementation that are Government driven. The Andhra Pradesh government will hold 11% stake in this public-private partnership and the bidding is for the balance 89%. And 18% of the capital will be raised via equity, 42% through debt, and the balance will be subsidised by the Government of India. NVS Reddy, Managing Director, Hyderabad Metro Rail, said, “We will not give this project any operational subsidy but a one-time capital subsidy. As per our financial model, 40% of the cost will be given as viability funding by the Government of India.” The Central Government has approved financial assistance of Rs. 1,639 crores for the Hyderabad Metro Rail project towards 20 per cent of the total project cost of Rs. 8,482 crores under the `viability gap funding' scheme. The Centre was inclined to consider a bigger grant for the project of which 60 per cent will be raised by the private Build, Operate & Transfer (BOT) developer and the rest by the State Government, said Hyderabad Metro Rail (HMR) Managing Director-designate N.V.S. Reddy. Reliance Energy, Essar Constructions and GVK are among five companies bidding for the Rs 8,500 crore Hyderabad Metro Rail Project. Sources: Money Control The Hindu Any lessons from this for us?
tsubba's picture


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harold davis
Vasanth's picture

Network projected cannot be successful if there is no feeder.

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The network shown in flickr link is good, but, it cannot be successful unless we have the feeder system that has been discussed in cvikash's post. All these things run on important areas, but, there are many areas in Bangalore which are uncovered. For example, Chamarajpet. Chamarajpet is such a busiest place today, but, people have to travel almost near KR road to catch a Metro. But, good thing about Chamarajpet is many buses pass through this and this will serve them enough. Places which are not covered by any MRTS should be augmented with very good and mainly attractive city buses making people to get tempted to travel in city Bus. Also we need smaller vehicles acting as man movers locally, say for example interior of Jayanagar 9th block to interior to Jayanagar 2nd block. These kind of scenarios will become blind spot with MRTS.
silkboard's picture

Autos do the feeder job

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The critical feeder job is in part done by auto-rickshaws today. Lots of noise, lots of pollution, and a lot of hassle going by general public complaints about them. If not the autos, private vehicles could do the feeder job, but then you need to have parking space - which as I said is a waste of two resources, vehicle as well as real estate. Look at Volvos for example. Unless I live along the route itself, how do I get to use one with a lot of 'hassle'? Other problem with Volvo is, they take a lot of time compared to a personal car, reason - they don't keep schedules (based on my experience with 333P - late each time I tried). Metro as designed today will have the similar problems. Too many stations would slow you down. And it will impact mostly the people who live very close to the route. Lesser stations, and good feeder design should make Metro better and successful.
tsubba's picture


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vasanth... that is nature solving a problem. if you look again that network has links that are different of widths/capacities. :) that is why i liked that image. i have also noticed that none of the natural networks through which something flows has loops. ring roads are a uniquely human phenomena.
tsubba's picture


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my two cents. autos are taxis only cheaper hardware. auto drivers are doing the same job as a BMTC driver but has none of the organization, and security that BMTC driver has. auto is a service/transport industry. no training. if i remember correctly, IT biggies sent their experts to HAL and trained people like baggage handlers, security walas etc in service and etiquette. i BMTC has codes for its volvo drivers. and so on. auto is only symptom. comment guidelines

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