After an inordinate delay and cost escalation, Bengaluru Metro on Wednesday got three additional coaches from the state-run Bharat Earth Movers Ltd (BEML) for its east-west corridor service, with one coach reserved for women.
"The three additional coaches will be added to the three-coach trains, allowing more commuters to travel by Metro," BEML Chairman Deepak Kumar Hota told reporters here.
The three new coaches will be added to only one Metro service operating on the east-west corridor (Purple Line) between Baiyappanahalli and Mysuru Road.
The first coach of the six-coach Metro train will be reserved for women and children, though they can also commute in the other five coaches.
"After integrating and testing, commuters can travel by the six-coach Metro by April-end or early May," state-run Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) Managing Director Mahendra Jain said on the occasion.
The BEML has rolled out each coach at the cost of Rs 8.9 crore.
"The first few coaches the Bengaluru Metro imported from South Korean firm Rotem were Rs 11.5 crore each. By localising manufacturing up to 70 per cent, we have reduced the cost by Rs 2.6 crore per unit," said Hota.
"The additional coaches will help in easing pressure on Metro commuters and de-congesting the city roads, as they would encourage more people to shift to its service from using public transport or their personal vehicles," said Bengaluru Development Minister K.J. George at an event where the coaches were officially handed over to Bengaluru Metro.
Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers Ananth Kumar and Lok Sabha lawmaker from Bengaluru Central P.C. Mohan were among others present at the event.
Currently, at least four lakh people use the Metro service daily for commuting on its north-south (Green Line) and east-west corridors, with the latter being busier of the two routes.
The full-fledged Metro service, which opened to the public in June 2017, has however not eased gridlocks on city's arterial roads, as it covers a mere 42 km of the 800-km city with ever-expanding suburbs.
The BEML got the contract from the BMRCL in March 2017 to convert all its three-coach trains into six-coach units.
"By June 2019, all the 50 Metro trains operating on the two routes will have six coaches," Jain said.
With the addition of three coaches, the number of commuters riding the Metro daily is expected to double to around eight lakh.