Tepid response to Bengaluru city-airport train maiden service

Launched with fanfare at a short notice, the train took over an hour to reach the airport halt station with a 2-minute stop at stations on the 40km route

Prime News, Karnataka, Bengaluru, January 5:-Passenger response to the maiden train service on Monday from city stations to the international airport at Devanahalli in the northern outskirts and back was tepid due to lack of awareness and odd timings.

“The maiden service from Krantivira Sangolli Rayana station in the city to the Kempegowda international airport halt station at Devanahalli had 12 passengers as the 8-car train left at 4.45 am and it was first day,” South Western Railway’s (SWR) Bengaluru division senior manager Krishna Reddy told IANS.

Similarly, the second service from Yelahanka station in the northeast suburb to the airport station had six passengers, three from Yesvanthpur to airport station and 10 travelled to Bengaluru Cantonment from the halt station during the day.

Bengaluru Central Lok Sabha member P C Mohan flagged off the inaugural service from the main city station and travelled in the 8-car diesel electric multiple unit (DEMU) along with railway officials and passengers to the airport.

“As its early days, the initial response to the suburban service will be less but will pick up gradually once passengers become aware of it and normal flight operations resume after the Covid-induced restrictions are lifted,” said Reddy.

Launched with fanfare at a short notice, the train took over an hour to reach the airport halt station with a 2-minute stop at stations on the 40km route.

The zonal railway has also decided to allow suburban trains from the city Cantonment station to Bangarapet in Kolar district and Chikkaballapura to stop at the airport halt stations in both the directions.

“As the fare from city stations to the airport halt station is Rs 10-15 for one-way trip, we are confident of getting very good response to the service when normal train and flight operations are restored after lifting Covid curbs,” asserted Reddy.

The 8-car DEMU train has capacity to carry 2,402 passengers in each trip.

“The service will also help hundreds of people employed at the airport and allied offices in its vicinity. Air passengers from cities and towns across the state and neighbouring states like Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu will be able to use the service from the city stations on arrival from their places,” Reddy pointed out.

The airport operator (Bangalore International Airport Ltd) will run a free shuttle service between the halt station and the airport terminal, which is 5km away.

“The suburban trains service between city and the airport will ease vehicular traffic congestion and reduce air pollution on all roads leading to the airport,” said Mohan on the occasion.

“The service frequency will be increased from the current five pairs of trains between the city stations and the airport halt station in commensurate with the demand and response of air passengers and local commuters,” said Bengaluru divisional manager Ashok Kumar Verma.

Regular employees working in the airport complex, logistic firms, courier services and other agencies will also be able to commute on week days except on Sunday.

The halt station has a booking counter, concourse area, rest rooms with provision for passengers with reduced mobility, granite benches for seating and drinking water.

“Based on usage and acceptance, the facility will be upgraded to cater to the travel needs of the public and employees,” said Verma.

Taxi fare to the airport from city costs about Rs 800-1,000 while the state-run Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation charges Rs 250-300 per person to ferry commuters in air-conditioned Volvo buses between the airport and city.

-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)

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