BENGALURU: With Namma Metro’s airport connectivity project making slow progress, Bengalureans have started a campaign for upgrading rail infrastructure between the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) near Devanahalli and the city. Their demand for a better transport link comes at a time when the airport operator is estimating passenger traffic to almost double in the next ten years.
“Around 75,000 people either arrive or depart from Bengaluru airport daily. This figure is set to grow in the future. The government or the airport operator has done nothing to improve connectivity to the airport in the past ten years,” said Rajkumar Dugar, a resident of Vasanthnagar, who has now started an online campaign “Bengaluru Needs Trains to Airport – And Fast” on Change.org.
The campaign demanding suburban train to the airport, Dugar said, is intended to create awareness among citizens because many do not know about the rail track that passes next to the airport. “It would take not less than five years for the metro to start operations on the airport line. Suburban rail infrastructure costs less and is quick to implement,” he added.
“The journey on the Ballari Road is not at all predictable. Sometimes, it takes 45 minutes to reach the airport from the city and the travel time could go anywhere about 2 hours,” Dugar, an entrepreneur by profession, added. His petition on Change.org has received over 3,100 supporters as on Sunday.
Suburban rail activist Satinderpal Chopra blamed the lack of political will for Bengaluru’s poor rail infrastructure. “More suburban services to the airport could be added from Baiyappanahalli (via Channasandra) and Yeshwantpur railway stations. But no political representative is taking any interest,” he said.
When the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India was talking to airport stakeholders over the fixing of new charges including the user development fee recently, the subject of improving transport facilities to the airport came up in the discussion. Several stakeholders sought both suburban rail and metro connectivity.