Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) yesterday (Wednesday, 29th January 2020) said all operational trains on both Purple and Green lines have been running six coaches since Monday. “The BMRCL has 50 trains. All 42 operational trains have six coaches now. Another six trains are under conversion. For the remaining two, additional coaches will get supplied by February-end,” BMRCL managing director Ajay Seth said.
Namma Metro’s daily ridership is around 4.5 lakh. “The total number of six-car train trips on all week days will be 137 round trips…,” read the statement. Currently, peak hour-frequency is four minutes and non-peak hour frequency is 10 minutes. Many passengers say the frequency of trains has reduced after conversion to six coaches.
“We were excited when BMRCL inducted six-coach trains and thought this would ease the journey, but now they reduced the frequency and increased the waiting time. This again is leading to crowding at stations and trains. They should improve frequency during peak hours,” said Babu S, a regular commuter on Purple Line.
Commuters are also worried that trains will get further crowded and waiting time will go up once the extension lines like Yelachenahalli-Anjanapura Township (August 2020) and Mysuru Road-Kengeri (October 2020) become operational. BMRCL hasn’t ordered additional trains for these sections.
“Waiting time won’t increase with the opening of Mysuru Road and Kanakapura Road extensions as we will double the capacity. We will be able to run trains with five minutes frequency. For Whitefield extension, we have placed orders. Additional trains will be needed for that stretch,” said Seth.
The Byappanahalli-Whitefield section is set to be operational by August 2021. Delhi Metro operates eight-coach trains. However, the same isn’t possible in Bengaluru as the stations and platforms aren’t designed for it. “Bengaluru Metro’s platform length is 135m, sufficient for 6 coaches but not more (each coach being 22m long). With ridership growing, frequency too will need to go up.
We can go up to a train every three minutes. For shorter interval of two minutes, the signalling system will need to be upgraded. The system is capable of handling up to 50,000 passengers per hour per direction at two minutes interval,” said a BMRCL source.
The 18.2km Purple Line is busier than the Green Line that spans 24.2km. This is because the Purple Line passes through commercial areas like MG Road. Each six-car train can carry up to 2,002 passengers, while the maximum capacity of a threecar train is 975. The coach behind the loco pilot’s cabin is reserved for women.
In March 2017, Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) bagged the Rs 1,421-crore order to supply 150 sets of intermediate cars to expand the existing three-car trains by June 2019. However, BMRCL missed several deadlines.