BENGALURU (Metro Rail News): The price structure of Bangaluru suburban rail network project will be based on the metro rail model, according to the 2020-21 Union Budget revealed on Saturday.
It means there won’t be a major difference between the ticket prices of Metro and suburban rail in Bengaluru, else in Mumbai and Chennai where rail reduce the price much less than Metro trips, according to a railway official.
“The 148-km-long Bengaluru suburban transport project, with a cost of Rs 18,600 crore, will have fares on the Metro model. The finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced in Parliament that central government will provide 20% of the equity and help outer assistance of up to 60% of the project cost,”.
However, the cost of the Bengaluru suburban rail project has already increased by 1,600 crores. Still, Bengaluru suburban rail project is yet to take shape and facing repeated planning delays. The former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had mentioned Rs 1,7000 crore as the price of developing a 160 km suburban rail network in 2018-19 budget.
The ‘Pink Book’ of Indian Railway 2018-19 which follows the budget proposals and list funding for projects, had mentioned allocation of only Rs 1 crore for the year of the Bengaluru suburban rail. After the document is tabled in parliament next week, most probably Feb 5th this allocation will be known. In 2019-20 Pink Book, the amount was Rs 10 crore. It’s been 37 years of telling that transport experts and Bengalureans who have been tracking the project were not impressed by the budget announcement but there had been little progress on the ground.
In July 2019, RITES, a government undertaking, submitted a revised detailed project report of including four corridors: KSR Bengaluru City Devanahalli, Byappanahalli-Chikkabanavara, Kengeri-Cantonment-Whitefield, and Heelalige-Rajanukunte to the railway.
The number of suburban stations was decreased to 53 from 82 introduced earlier, and the length of the network was also revised from 161km to 148km.
They will be executed through a special purpose vehicle called Karnataka Rail Infrastructure Development Enterprises, or K-RIDE.
The final cabinet note is yet to be processed by the finance ministry. In November 2019, the Railway Board began the project. Once that happens, it will be placed before the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.
It is likely to be the country’s first modern suburban train system, the network that rail planners have envisioned in Bengaluru. its stations will be going to have a different modern look than traditional stations as well as offering more facilities. There will be automated fare collection gates for smart card-based cashless travel. Fifty-three air-conditioned trains, with automated double-leaf sliding doors, will be deployed in the first phase.
Railway sources said the minimum fare could be Rs 13 for less than 3km. In Chennai and Mumbai, a train trip for the same distance costs Rs 5 currently. “For a 15-km trip, the fare will be Rs 35 as against Rs 45 in Metro,” an official said.