Saturday, September 26, 2009

It’s common sense to extend Metro to BIA’

It’s common sense to extend Metro to BIA’
TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Bangalore: ABIDe, the body set up by chief minister B S Yeddyurappa to frame a comprehensive plan to revive and rebuild Bangalore, has expressed reservations about a high-speed rail link (HSRL) to the airport, a project that recently won the approval of the Vision Group on Infrastructure, another body set up by the CM. R K Misra, an ABIDe member involved with transportation planning, tells TOI that a Metro to the airport is a much better option.
Why do you prefer the Metro as
the link to the airport?
Given that we are developing an extensive Metro network, common sense suggests that the Metro should be extended to the airport so that a passenger from, say, Whitefield or Electronics City or Peenya, can use the Metro to reach the airport without the need to change to a different mode of transport at a different station or location. The catchment area becomes much larger, making the service economically viable too.
Do you think transfer from the Metro to the HSRL at the MG Road transit station will be inconvenient?
Yes. The transfer will dissuade many passengers from using the HSRL. Most users of HSRL will be from in and around Bangalore’s central parts.
What about the argument that airport passengers need a fast and dedicated service?
The Bangalore Metro Rail Corp has proposed to run hourly or half-hourly airport express services (based on need) from terminus points such as Whitefield, Electronics City and Peenya, along with their normal Metro services. This express service could run faster — without stopping at each station, like in Tokyo or London — after a certain point. For instance, the MG Road link could have only two stops, say, at Hebbal and Yelahanka, like the proposed HSRL.
If the HSRL is implemented on a PPP basis and the private party takes on
most of the investment burden, won’t the city save money?
Cost to the government should be an important criterion. The cost of extending the Metro to the airport should be compared to the cost to the exchequer of the HSRL by way of viabilitygap funding and other sops in the form of land. If HSRL comes at a substantially lower cost to the government than the Metro, then we should consider the HSRL.

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