Bengaluru, India (Urban Transport News): The Rail Infrastructure Development Company (Karnataka) Limited (K-RIDE), which is enstrusted to implement 148-km Suburban Rail/Commuter Rail project in Bengaluru city, is now planning to impose fares on Bengaluru Suburban Rail in line with Bangalore Metro.
“BSRP fare will be almost similar to Metro’s as per the recent policy. This is the first modern suburban rail system in the country with AC coaches, swanky stations and an automated fare collection system. We are planning to use communications-based train control, which can reduce the headway to two minutes,” said Amit Garg, Managing Director, K-RIDE, TOI reported. Earlier, K-RIDE had promised to keep fares of Suburban rail less than Metro’s but more than BMTC.
As per the approved detailed project report (DPR) of Bengaluru Suburban Rail, the minimum fare for BSRP could be Rs 13 for less than 3km. “The proposed fare structure starts from Rs 13 (for less than 3 km trip) and goes up to Rs 100 (for more than 60km trip) at 2025 price levels and escalates 10% every two years,” DPR reads.
“Around 60% of the project cost is coming from foreign financial institutions so we need money for operational costs and also loan repayment. It’s not fair to compare British-era Chennai and Mumbai suburban rail systems with BSRP as a majority of their trains are non-AC. In fact, these two rail systems are highly subsidized by Indian railways and are incurring heavy losses,” said a senior official, TOI reported.
In 2020, the Central Government cabinet had sanctioned the Bengaluru Suburban Rail project at an estimated cost of Rs 15,767 crore with eight conditions. “K-RIDE shall have the autonomy in the fare fixation and fare will be kept comparable to Bengaluru Metro…” it said.
On June 20, 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of the Bengaluru Suburban Rail Project. The construction work will start soon.
Opposing the proposed fares, Activists said that passengers travelling by Bengaluru suburban rail are likely to be daily-wage workers and others coming from the outskirts. At present, the maximum Metro fare is Rs 60 (Kengeri to Silk Institute), which itself is not affordable for many.
Some passengers have the opinion that the suburban rail fare should be less than Metro’s as it will run parallel to existing railway tracks where land is available. It has fewer elevated and underground sections compared to Metro so the construction cost is less. In fact, the suburban rail will run below the Metro viaduct for a length of 500m adjacent to the Benniganahalli flyover to reduce land acquisition costs.