Officials said that the decision to introduce new services has to be authorised by the Railway Board, headed by Rail Minister Piyush Goyal.

Rail officials promise access to Bengalurus Whitefield Station from all sides
news Railways Tuesday, September 10, 2019 - 09:25

Concerted efforts in Bengaluru by activists for a suburban rail service has not been successful till now, but authorities have finally started taking note of basic amenities that are missing in the city’s railway stations.

After a meeting between teams of activists with Ajay Kumar Singh, the General Manager of South Western Railways on Sunday, the manager promised entrances to the Whitefield Railway Station from all sides. 

Sandeep Anirudhan, one of the activists present at the meeting, said, “He heard us out patiently and showed understanding about the problems faced by thousands of commuters every day. He understood the difficulties faced by the old and infirm at the Whitefield Railway Station due to lack of commuter-friendly access, especially from the south side. He then issued instructions to the Divisional Railway Manager to arrange small entrances on all sides to facilitate commuter movement.”

Read: Want to tackle B'luru's toughest obstacle course? Try getting to Whitefield station

Following the meeting, it was also announced that the Kadugodi station would be connected with the BBMP foot over bridge, giving easier access to commuters. 

There are also several other issues related to accessibility in Bengaluru’s suburban rail stations, especially in the Outer Ring Road areas. This remains an issue despite a long-standing demand for regular train services within the city and to the outskirts, with successive state and central governments dragging their feet over the matter. The introduction of these suburban trains is touted to be a quick fix to Bengaluru’s ever-growing traffic jam problem, especially with long delays due to construction of the metro.

Read: Ridership of proposed Bengaluru’s suburban rail to exceed that of metro by 2025: Report

Officials on Sunday said that the decision to introduce new services has to be authorised by the Railway Board, headed by Rail Minister Piyush Goyal.

“We will continue to appeal to our elected representatives to convince the Railway Minister to prioritise local trains, shift all goods train movements to non-peak and night hours, and open up at least four slots every hour on each corridor for local trains,” Sandeep added.

Suburban rail activists have upped the ante since the appointment of Karnataka MP Suresh Angadi as the Minister of State for Railways and a BJP government coming into power in the state.

They have been petitioning all concerned elected representatives, including the CM and bureaucrats, to clear hurdles for the launch of services.

Responding to a call for suggestions from the public on newer train services between KSR Bengaluru and Whitefield, a group called the Bengaluru Suburban Rail Users have prepared a detailed five-point agenda and have called for wider public consultation. They have also demanded the creation of easy access to metro and bus stations and multimodal transport hubs. Some of their key demands include the running of trains every 15 minutes during peak hours and 30 minutes in non-peak hours and starting of a suburban rail line from Cantonment to the airport.

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