Most Bengalureans, grinding and lurching their way through traffic and over bad roads, may not have paid attention to the numerous railway lines crisscrossing the city. This, even after decades or an entire lifetime, of living here. Citizens for Bengaluru’s #ChukuBukuBeku campaign is focused on building awareness about the power of local trains to transform Bengaluru.
No, this is not a pitch for building futuristic lines, new rail networks and decades-long construction nightmares. This is about lines that exist today and actually have trains running on them.
Lets get this straight:
There are 25 (read, “twenty five”) existing, functioning railway stations within what is today a conservative commuting circumference of Bengaluru. This is circle that runs from Bidadi (where Toyota runs its factory) on the Mysuru Road thru’ Yeshwantpur, Yelahanka, Whitefield, Heelalige (close to Electronics city) and back to Bidadi. And, there are well over 100 kms of already operating rail tracks within this area.
The figure for a wider commuter rail system, akin to what Mumbai and Chennai have, is even more staggering – there are 61 existing stations and 440 kms of rail network. See this map.
Yes, we should all read that sentence a couple more times to let this sink in. If you wish to dive deep, read the Final Report submitted to the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT), by Rail India Technical and Economic Services. RITES is a Government of India enterprise and submitted its report on a Commuter Rail System for Bengaluru, in August 2012.
Even today, right now – Bengaluru’s rail network and trains allow you to do the following trips, that appear ‘out of a dream’, for most of us.
- Majestic to Karmelaram (3 kms from the Wipro Head Office on Sarjapura Road) in 35 minutes
- Majestic to Bellandur Road (a mere 1.5 kms from the ORR junction near JP Morgan) in 30 minutes
- Majestic to Bidadi in 34 minutes
- Majestic to Kengeri in 20 minutes
- Majestic to Whitefield in 35 minutes
- Majestic to Devanahalli (beyond the International Airport) in less than 1 hour
- Yeshtwantpur to Whitefield in less than 40 minutes
- Yeshwantpur to Heelalige (8 kms from Electronics City) in 50 minutes
So why are we all lurching, bouncing, grinding, complaining and poisoning our way on our roads?
Because, while the rail lines exist and trains run everyday – the infrastructure has simply not been tuned to cater to the large volumes of commuters who would potentially flock to use it. This includes relatively small upgrades to the stations themselves – fast ticketing, streamlined access to platforms, feeder services to/from those platforms and certainly train timings.
With prioritization, focus, planning, coordination, administrative smarts and a relatively small amount of money – this entire rail system can come alive and breathe fresh air back into our city.
Imagine the outcome! Commutes that will allow you to actually be pleasant and creative when you get to office, as opposed to rant and need counseling after you get there.
Sounds like grid-lock-free Nirvana?
Join us for the Rail Yatra and #ChukuBukuBeku Campaign on Saturday, Dec 17.
Ride the train. Experience the true power of the rail network. Meet and discuss ways to put pressure ‘on the system’ to bring this alive and transform all of our lives and that of our children.