Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Newly launched suburban service gets poor response

Newly launched suburban service gets poor response
S Lalitha, Bangalore, May 4, DHNS:

It is exactly a month since the suburban train services from Yeswantpur (YPR) to Devanahalli and Hosur were launched (April 5) to enhance connectivity within the City. Sadly, the patronage from the public has been dismal.

The diesel multiple unit (dmu) with five coaches can seat 360 passengers and runs twice a day between Yeswantpur and Hosur in both directions. A trip to and from YPR to Devanahalli is sandwiched in between. The service runs on all days of the week, barring Sundays.

Shockingly, the average number of passengers travelling from YPR to Devanahalli is just 11 while the average number boarding the train on its return route is just 13. This roughly translates to just a little over 3 per cent in occupancy figures, reveal statistics gathered from the Commercial section of the Bangalore Division. A host of reasons are attributed for this shockingly poor response.

“One cannot expect an air-bound traveller for whom time and comfort are priorities to take a non-a/c train and that too from Yeswantpur station,” said a top source. “The train must be a point to point service and should have an appealing look like the Delhi Metro to goad air passengers to opt for it,” he suggested. The timings of the service too (onward departure at 10.40 am and return, 1.15 pm) are not convenient, another source added.

Conceding that the response “is indeed very poor”, a top railway official pointed out that the launch was done in a haste without any proper survey being carried out. “There needs to be a total rethink on the routes, stoppages and timings after carrying out an intensive survey among commuters,” he felt. The absence of publicity for the trains has also ensured many remain in the dark about them.

Meanwhile, the response to the train heading to Hosur from Yeswantpur is comparatively better, ranging between between 13% and 30%. While the morning passenger (YH-1) has an occupancy figure of 46 passengers during the onward trip and 102 during the return trip, the evening passenger (YH-2) has an occupancy figure of 91 onwards and 107 during the return trip.

“Contrary to the view that the workforce heading towards the Electronic City would take to the train in huge numbers, it is the regular commuters between Anekal and Yeswantpur who constitute the occupants,” said a top railway source.

A railway official insists that only if the City railway station was made as the starting point for the trains, would there be any hope of success for the venture.

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