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Bengaluru: After suspending two suburban trains plying between Banaswadi and Hosur for five months, the South Western Railway (SWR) is now thinking of cutting down a few more suburban services citing poor ridership.“Currently we are operating such 120 trains. About 30 services were introduced in the last two years, but the ridership figure remains stagnant at 1.5 lakh passengers a day. We are now looking at tweaking existing services or cancelling some which have less patronage,” said a senior SWR official, adding that they are yet to finalize the trains that’d be cancelled.SWR suspended two DEMU trains plying between Banaswadi and Hosur till October 25, citing track-renewal work between Byappanahalli and Hosur (48km). These were among the four new trains introduced in March, just before elections.Maximum losses on these routes“We are incurring maximum losses in the Hassan section (Nelamangala-Kunigal), Kolar (Devanahalli-Chikkaballapur-Kolar), Salem (Hebbal-Banaswadi-Hosur) and Dharmavaram (Chennasandra-Yelahanka-Gauribidanur) sections. The trains suspended between... more...
Banaswadi and Hosur had very few takers,” the official adds. Suburban rail activists say commuters often hesitate to use these services due to lack of first and last-mile connectivity to and from stations.While rolling out suburban trains, SWR didn’t reach out to BMTC to operate feeder buses from the railway stations in sync with suburban train timings. With most stations located in interior stretches, passengers are often left stranded. For instance, stations like Hoodi, Bellandur, Carmelaram, Heelalige, Banaswadi, Krishnadevaraya halt, Anekal Road, Malleswaram and Kodigehalli lack good bus connectivity.Feeder buses neededAccording to activist Krishnaprasad, suburban rail services across the country are suffering losses because of subsidized fares. “SWR along with BMTC should introduce feeder buses connecting railway stations to ensure first and last-mile connectivity. For instance, stations like Hoodi, Bellandur and Malleswaram require better bus connectivity. This, in turn, will help increase ridership,” he added. Sandeep Anirudhan, a regular rail commuter, feels SWR and BMTC should take a leaf out of Mumbai, where Western/Central Railway gives priority to suburban services. “SWR gives preference to long-distance and goods trains at crossings. This delays suburban services and office-goers find it difficult to reach their destinations on time,” said Sandeep. According to him, BMTC should operate short-distance feeder services from railway stations, like Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport Undertaking (BEST) does in Mumbai. “The ridership will definitely go up if there are reliable train services and better last-mile connectivity,” he added.BMTC officials say they are ready to operate feeder services to railway stations. “So far, we have not received any communication from SWR in this regard,” said a BMTC official.
4 Public Posts - Fri Jun 01, 2018
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