Modernise and expand the trams of Kolkata (Calcutta)

Modernise and expand the trams of Kolkata (Calcutta)

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Calcutta Tram Users Association started this petition to Mamata Banerjee (Chief Minister of West Bengal) and

Help us make the trams a viable and efficient mode of public transport again in Kolkata (Calcutta).

Yes, you've read that correctly: trams are not a prehistoric and slow mode of transport that we need to get rid of in today's modern world. There are examples from around the world, where trams are a fast, efficient, reliable and safe mode of public transport and are a great saviour of a congested city’s everyday struggle to keep moving.

Do you think trams are responsible for congestion on the streets of Calcutta? 

Find out for yourself:

Let us all come together and persuade the government to take necessary action for transforming Calcutta Tramways!


Kolkata or Calcutta - in spite of all its cultural heritage and artistic aesthetics is currently a congested and polluted city with a highly inefficient overall public transport system. Lack of reliable and efficient public transport is promoting the increased use of cars and stretching the congestion to its limits. The ever-increasing number of flyovers in the city may seem to be the pride of modern Calcutta, but we all know, building more flyovers to accommodate more cars is not a sustainable solution for any city at all, in the long run. The volume of cars will only increase and we will be stuck in a city full of flyovers in no time if adequate attention is not given to modernise and transform the public transport infrastructure of Calcutta.

A number of new metro routes are coming up but without proper planning and integration, the usage of cars would not fall. Good news is, Calcutta already has a well established public transport system, which many cities around the world would dream to have in the first place. We already have a rich mix of buses, trams, metros, autos that many cities are only starting to build. Yet, the crucial question is whether the government is doing enough to save the public transport system by changing, improving and modernising it over the course of time? This petition is all about, asking for an enthusiastic “yes” to this question, particularly for the tram infrastructure of Calcutta.

Calcutta has a rich network of trams with a route length of approximately 70 km, with a highly effective penetration of the central areas, and having good quality links to the northern and southern parts of the city. The system is the first in Asia and arguably, one of the best in the world in terms of its area coverage and has an enormous potential to play a key role in a sustainable transport solution for Calcutta in the future. More importantly, the tram system provides a link to the two main railway stations in the city, Howrah and Sealdah which between them handle more than 20 lakhs (2 million) passengers per day. Regrettably, the link to Howrah has been cut but the infrastructure is still there and could easily be reinstated. Many other routes which were discontinued during the past 5-10 years could also be reinstated.

We feel very strongly that the government should turn their attention to trams and heavily invest in it. It may even decide to prioritise investment in trams over buses, as trams do not emit any emissions and they are much safer compared to buses, especially for vulnerable groups like senior citizens, and children. The government should take active steps to reduce air pollution by developing and improving those modes of transport that are zero pollution viz. the tram.

In order to modernise and expand the Calcutta tramways, we have some specific suggestions for the government to consider and implement:

1. The tram system should be completely refurbished, with new and modern rolling stock, along with associated infrastructure like tracks, overhead wiring repaired and/or replaced. The newest trams used by CTC were built in 1980s. If new trams are made in India, they will be cheaper than electric buses, long lasting, faster, convenient and above all affordable for the commuters. These new rakes should have:

  a. Automatic doors

  b. Digital signage boards

  c. Better braking and acceleration

  d. GPS integration

  e. WBTC smart card integrated ticketing (With buses and trams).

2. The tram tracks should be completely separate from the rest of the road, making sure no other vehicles can use this track, yet people can access the tram easily and safely at the tram stops. This will improve reliability and journey times in the congested street network. This will ensure a road is more efficiently used, thereby reducing congestion.

3. The tram network should be extended in newer parts of Calcutta like Salt Lake and New Town which still lack any mass rapid transit system. Some of the closed sections which are actually some of the most profitable and essential routes should be reopened.  These include:

a. Chowringhee section between Esplanade and Hazra Road junction

b. High Court via Hare Street/Strand Road

c. Chitpore - Esplanade junction

4. Start services with high frequency on designated routes. Trams should be run with high frequency on a number of routes. These can be:

 a. Esplanade - Shayambazar

 b. Esplanade - Sealdah

 c. Esplanade - Khiderpore

 d. New Route: Connecting Joka/Behala Metro Station (Line 3) with Tollygunge Metro Station (Line 1)

 e. New Route: Connecting Ultadanga Railway Station (Main and North Line) with Sector V via Metro Stations (Line 2 and Line 6)

It will be able to deliver good service as a feeder line and will be an economic transport option.

5. Declare most congested roads as no-emission - Greenways with only electric vehicles like trams and cycles allowed. Kolkata has already been declared the most polluted city in the world and is the 'lung cancer capital' of the country. It is high time pollution is tackled by applying curbs on smoke emitting cars which carry only 8% of total traffic and cause lion's share of pollution and traffic congestion.

We can brainstorm about the feasibility of these steps and will collectively come up with more practical ideas to modernise and improve the tram system, once the government agrees to move in the right direction or at least show positive intention along these lines.

PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION, requesting the decision makers to modernise our trams. If you would like to mention the reasons for signing or if you have any other ideas that the government might implement please do so in the comments section below. Feedback is welcome and encouraged. 

Thank you very much for your support.

Find us on Facebook: CalcuttaTramUsersAssociation  

Write to us at:

0 have signed. Let’s get to 7,500!
At 7,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get a reaction from the decision maker!