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Metro OR Suburban train to KIA?

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Commuter Rail

So its that time of the year again, expectations from the budget abt announcements on suburban rail and no doubt madam FM did say few words on the issue but also left a lot for speculation. And then the news items abt the train link to the trumpet interchange near KIA that has started some invigorated discussions on social media.

In the absence of UMTA there are a few golden rules to play with. The prime among that is as below:

Understand a problem well to fit a solution 

However everyone including the authorities are trying to do just the opposite. All are trying to fit a solution to a problem. Metro/Suburban rail are all solutions in this context and the problem being airport connectivity. So lets try see a bit into the problem.

Airport is a destination for two types of travelers. Daily commuters who work in and around the airport and the flyers themselves. Daily commuters look for reliable low cost transit option and are not much bothered about frequency or comforts. However air travelers will look for good frequency and comforts, cost is not a factor for them

Taking the airtravellers only, the current projections with the new terminal opening is about 1.7 lakh passengers per day and considering half of them using the train service it will be about 80,000 passengers.

However daily commuter number will be much higher considering staff who work at the airport. The KIADB Hardware techpark and Aerospace park among other industries coming up around the airport also need reliable commute option..

Problem Metro Suburban Rail
Fast mass transit option yes (if limited stops) yes
Reliable mass transit option yes yes
High frequency yes No
Low cost of implementation No Yes
Fast time for implementation No Yes
Affordable ticket cost (daily commute) No  Yes
Provides safety and security Yes Yes
Comforts for air travellers (luggage) Yes Yes (less than metro)

So basically daily commuters cannot be expected to take a metro line everyday. They will need a suburban rail option. 

Airtravellers will prefer a metro solution. The question is if the number of air travellers who plan to take the metro large enough to justify the heavy implementation cost involved. If the answer is yes, then we shd go for it..else the plan needs to be dropped immediately.

So who will do the survey and plan for it is a different question, because we did have a similar 'survey' few years ago to support BETL bridge on Hosur road and we all know what a disaster it has turned out to be financially !


Naveen's picture

Nice Analysis

96 users have liked.
Sri, good analysis.
None of the dedicated airport express trains around the world have projected riderships. The only way to make it successful & improve ridership is for an aiport train to cater to regular passengers en-route & provide subsidized passes for airport workers to get them also to use the train.
With intermediate halt stations spaced 2-3km apart (at Hebal, Kodigehalli, Jakkur Cross, Yelahanka, Bagalur Cross, Bettahalasuru and Doddajala), the airport metro is addressing part of the issue as passengers from these locations will start using metro. If they provide subsidized fares for airport & industry workers in & around the airport, ridership will be even higher.
The problem with suburban rail is that it's route starts from a fixed point (KSR) without regular inter-connecting trains from elsewhere nor easy transfers, besides a route passing well off the main /trunk roads. It will also be inconvenient for large sections that reside in south-east, east and north-east Bangalore to access this train as KSR itself is offset towards west Bangalore. Why would anyone first go west to KSR & then take the train northwards when direct buses or cabs can do it in much shorter time? No doubt, it will attract many residing in west /southwest /northwest Bangalore.
Another issue with suburban rail is that there will be an additional change over from the halt station to airport using bus or cabs. In this respect, metro will provide far better airport connectivity when the ring line is completed as transfers are much easier /faster, but thats still a long way away!
This said, I think airport does need both - a metro link as also suburban rail since the city will need to cater to various groups of people in the decades ahead. comment guidelines

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