The revised route for Bengaluru’s Namma Metro to reach Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) is expected to make access tedious for commuters from certain areas of the city even though the cost for the project has seen a 44.25 per cent increase to accommodate the changes.
Namma Metro’s airport corridor was earlier designed to be from Gottigere to Kempegowda International Airport via Nagawara. However, the route has been revised to include KR Puram-Nagawara-Airport for an entire 38-kilometers stretch now.
According to BMRCL officials, the decision was taken due to the presence of a high-pressure petroleum pipe which runs from Bangalore to Mangalore on the route proposed earlier. However, this might hinder commuters’ access to the designated Red Line from various parts of the city right from the beginning and will only worsen over the years, mobility experts and activists point out.
"The earlier Gottigere-Nagawara-KIA proposal for the red line of Namma Metro would have been beneficial to many travelling from Koramangala, Chickpet or Rajajinagar where no metro connectivity is available. The revised route now forces commuters to reach KR Puram or any other station from among the 17 new ones to be built to reach the airport. Instead, people residing in Koramangala, Chickpet and Rajajinagar might prefer taking a direct cab or the BMTC Vayu Vajra (AC Volvo buses that ply from different parts of the city to KIA) to reach the airport faster. For people in these areas, it might take the same time to reach any point in the Metro and change lines to travel to the Airport," urban transport activist Sanjeev Dyamannavar told Indianexpress.com.
He further added that the Gottigere-Nagawara-KIA route would have also benefitted airport-bound commuters as the commute requires no line change or any other hassle because the Red Line, as per the previous plan, would have easily connected populous areas of the city. "The same benefit is now reduced to a lesser population residing in or travelling from areas like Horamavu, Kasturi Nagar, Kammanahalli, Banaswadi and so," Dyamannavar added.
BMRCL officials offered another reason behind the route revision. "The airport line which was planned earlier from Gottigere-Nagawara to the terminal would have faced further delays as that line was planned to be underground. Work on elevated sections can be completed faster than the underground ones," said an official citing that all stations in the revised KR Puram-KIA route except two at the airport terminal will be elevated. The BMRCL also plans to run trains at an average speed of 60 kmph on the airport route to cut down travel time.
The revised route will have 17 stations, in place of the seven planned on the Nagawara-KIA route. The stations on the revised route include KR Puram, Channasandra, Horamavu, Kalyan Nagar (Babu Sahib Palya), HRBR Layout, HBR Layout, Nagawara, Veeranna Palya, Kempapura Cross, Hebbal, Kodigehalli, Jakkur, Kogilu Cross, Peripheral Ring Road (Bagalur), Trumpet Intersection and two stations at KIA.
As per the costs, while KR Puram-KIA will cost an estimated Rs 10,584.1 crore, the line from Gottigere to Nagawara and then to KIA, as planned earlier, was to be built at Rs 5,900 crore.