Experts point out that the Detailed Project Report did not factor in six-car metro trains, in an effort to keep project costs low.

Bluru finally has a six-car metro but did inaccurate projections delay its procurementPTI
news Transport Monday, June 25, 2018 - 19:07

With Phase I of Namma Metro completing a year of operations, the much awaited six-coach train was flagged off by Chief Minister Kumaraswamy on Friday amidst the usual fanfare. 

The capacity of the six-car trains are 2,000 passengers— double compared to the existing three-car trains. But Bengaluru has to wait until August for the next six coach train to arrive.  The lone six-coach train runs between Bypanahalli and Mysuru Road. The BMRCL aims to make its entire service to six-coached trains by June 2019.

The metro rail along its 42.3 km of existing stretch provides lakhs of commuters a comfortable, traffic snarl-free journey in a city with an alarming rise in number of private vehicles. In one year, between June 18, 2017- June 16, 2018, the BMRCL has recorded 12,29,49,982 (12 crore+) individual journeys with an average daily ridership of 3,36,849 (3lakh+). But of late, there have been complaints of overcrowded trains, leading to some commuters getting back to their personal vehicles for the sake of comfort.

Read: K'taka Minister wants metro till Bannerghatta Park after getting stuck in traffic jam

The delay in procurement of six-car trains which resulted in over-congestion was due to errors made in the planning stage, says Sanjeev Dymanavar, a Bengaluru-based urban transport expert  

“The biggest blunder is in the DPR (detailed project report) made in 2011, their cost estimation was based on three-coach trains. They did not include the six-coach requirement in the projections even though they have made correct estimates about the number of passengers with the exact headways with six-car trains,” said Sanjeev.

“Although underplaying costs does not benefit anyone, often officials keep projected costs low to show that a ‘project is viable’. In the DPR they said, initially three coaches are needed and as and when required they will procure six-car trains,” he explained.

This according to him, inadvertently makes way for delays with projects made to wait for funds. The costs projected in the DPR are equally shared between the state and the central government, with BMRCL being equally owned by the state and Centre.

“Beyond that every other additional expenditure is borne by the state government. So, the six coach trains were ordered only after new funds were allocated by the state government in early 2017,” he said.

The same is echoed by Chitresh Shrivastva, a rail enthusiast and researcher. He said, “The attribution to the inconvenience caused so far can be traced to the shortcomings of the DPR, which was submitted in 2011. It lacked any foresight of future capacity augmentation.”

He said that although the six-coach metro is a welcome move, BMRCL should not have a ‘one size fits all’ approach to decongest existing trains.  

“The situation now demands a two-fold approach to catalyse the metro ridership further. First, there is a need for comprehensive and rigorous study of the routes and the footfalls with a greater understanding of the nature of the area. For example, Delhi has trains of 4,6, 8 coaches respectively,” he added.

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