India's IT hub boards Metro, finally

CIOL Bureau
New Update

BANGALORE, INDIA: A 6.7 km network, 12 minutes and a significant leap. India's tech hub Bangalore finally came on board the Metro rail Thursday, more than 30 years after the ambitious project was mooted, hoping for an end to its growing traffic woes.


While Bangalore's eight million people will have to wait their turn, about 600 invitees had the privilege of commuting in its three coaches from upscale M.G. Road in downtown to Baiyappannahalli in the eastern suburb.

After launching the service - it can carry 1,000 commuters at a time - at the decked up M G Road station with a remote button, Minister for Urban Development Kamal Nath flagged off the first ride. On board were central and state ministers, corporate honchos, top officials and media corps.

Conceived as an alternative transport in the early 80s, the 'Namma Metro' (Our Metro) hopes to give a breather to Bangalore's denizens caught in traffic snarls, potholed roads and poor public transport.


"Reach-1 of the first phase from M.G. Road to Baiyappanhalli will cater to commuters living in the densely populated eastern suburb," Bangalore Metro Rail Corp Ltd (BMRCL) managing director N. Sivasailam told IANS here.

Once the network expands, the 42.3-km double line electrified track in the first phase will snake through the city, with 18.1 km on the east-west corridor and 24.2 km on north-south corridor, including 8.8 km underground in the city centre.

"When the remaining 35.6-km route under construction is completed by 2014, the Metro will become the most sought after commuting mode in the city like in Delhi," a beaming Sivasailam asserted.


"We have so far invested about Rs.4,000 crore. Due to various factors, some beyond our control, the total project cost has been revised to Rs.11,609 crore ($2.37 billion) from the estimated Rs.8,158 crore ($1.67 billion dollars)," Sivasailam said.

Initially, the corporation will operate five trains in each direction at a frequency of 10-15 minutes to carry about 1,000 commuters per trip from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, with fares ranging Rs.10-15.

"Once the service picks up and as more people prefer taking the Metro to save time and commute safely in air-conditioned comfort, we will double the coaches to six from three. We expect about 25,000 people to use the Metro in Reach-1," Sivasailam pointed out.