Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Metro may take Bangalore into brave new world

Metro may take Bangalore into brave new world
Deccan Herald

Once metro rail is running, several roads may be declared no-entry for two and three wheelers and motor vehicle tax might zoom up.

BMTC’s air-conditioned and Volvo buses have not budged the city’s elite from their cars. But tight traffic restrictions to be imposed once Bangalore Metro Rail is up and running, might put a break to private transport craze.

Gear up for sweeping changes in transportation systems. Once the Metro Rail project, set to take off in July, becomes real, several policy initiatives might be slapped to curb use of private vehicles, particularly two and four-wheelers. Autorickshaws too are likely to come in for severe restrictions.

If you’ve been cribbing about one-ways, then sample this: several roads may be declared ‘no-entry’ for two and three-wheelers (autos).

Parking, which became a free-for-all recently, may become expensive on certain stretches and free and easy on other stretches. Motor vehicle taxes are likely to rise too, say planners.

“What is being planned is nothing new, it is prevalent in cities like Singapore and Columbia. There are plans to curb private vehicles in many ways to control the traffic but only after the Metro Rail is constructed,” said an official in the urban development department.

These could be in the form of incentives and disincentives, said Bangalore Mass Rapid Transit Ltd (BMRTL) managing director K N Shrivastava. “We’ll have designated easy parking at BMRTL stations so that people can come from home to the station and then use the rail to get to work. Parking in other places may become expensive.

Some roads may be declared two-wheeler free. We cannot stop people from buying new vehicles, but motor vehicle tax may be increased by a large quantum,” Mr Shrivastava said, adding that these are long-term measures that are yet to be formalised.

Several cities across the world impose heavy taxes on people who buy a car after selling one, pointed out another official. “You can’t have cars and trains co-existing on MG Road. We need some restrictions,” he said.

Project’s progress

As for the project itself, while initial clearances have been accorded, approval is awaited from the project investment board, expected by the end of this month. Subsequently, it would be taken to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.

Tenders have been invited for the Rs 5,602-crore project spanning five years.

Bids have been called for pre-qualification of contractors and will be opened on April 27. This would be for construction of the first phase of the project — an elevated rail from NGEF to the cricket stadium (MG Road).

Bids have been called for appointment of consultants too and these will be finalised by May 18, Mr Shrivastava said.


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