Opinion Op Ed 29 Aug 2019 Suburban rail link t ...

Suburban rail link to airport can be provided at a much lesser cost

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | SANJEEV DYAMANNAVAR
Published Aug 29, 2019, 2:54 am IST
Updated Aug 29, 2019, 2:54 am IST
Unfortunately, this bureaucratic approach has resulted in the absence of a mass public transport system leading to the airport for years.
Since 2008 mass public transport like the high speed suburban rail  and Metro have been discussed, but have not moved beyond the planning stage , pushing up their cost steeply in the process.
 Since 2008 mass public transport like the high speed suburban rail and Metro have been discussed, but have not moved beyond the planning stage , pushing up their cost steeply in the process.

The Kempegowda International Airport has grown by leaps and bounds since it opened in 2008 without any plans for mass public transport except the Volvo BMTC buses to serve it.  In 2018-19, the airport received 24 million passengers, making it the third busiest after Delhi and Mumbai. Around 120  freight operators and 80 custom agents operate at Cargo Village and the airport now offers employment to a large number of people in its security, housekeeping, maintenance, cargo handling, and ground support divisions. More are employed in the airport hotel, in its  gardens, canteens, retail outlets, and as drivers. But easing the commute to the airport from different parts of the city has not received the attention it needs.

All the traffic to the airport is road-centric, resulting in huge congestion. Unfortunately even after 11 years of the airport opening, the Metro line to it is still in the planning and approval stage, and could take anywhere from six to 10 years to build once  the work starts on it.

 

Since 2008 mass public transport like the high speed suburban rail  and Metro have been discussed, but have not moved beyond the planning stage , pushing up their cost steeply in the process. The railway line that runs next to the trumpet interchange adjacent to the airport boundary and connects the city , Yelahanka, Yeshwanthpur and Cantonment stations to Devanahalli and Chikballapur can serve as the suburban rail corridor with little effort from the state government and the railway ministry.

A halt station can be built at a fraction of the cost of  the Metro for around Rs 50 lakh to meet the requirements of the airport employees on this line. Demand for the halt railway station has been around for over 10  years, but neither the railways nor the state  government have shown any interest in it. Unfortunately, this bureaucratic approach has resulted in the absence of a mass public transport system leading to the airport for years. The railway minister and the state government should immediately build a halt station at the airport on this existing line, and introduce a few new services based on its shift timings to suit its employees. This suburban rail will help in reducing personal cars being used to get to the airport by  low income workers, airport employees  and to some extent, by other air passengers too.

 

Also, this way travelling to the airport by public transport will not have to take another decade to materialise on the Metro Rail.  

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