Bengaluru Metro getting saturated fast

Bengaluru Metro problems

An over-crowded Metro train heading from Mysore Road to Byappanahalli. Pic: Shreenidhi D S

Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) is facing the public ire on the integration of Metro stations with other modes of transport. But this is not the only issue troubling the city’s fastest public transport provider.

Amith Pallavoor Subramaniam, a Citizen Matters reader, writes:

During peak hours, Metro trains are packed, and the insolent home guards push commuters like sardines. A disaster like Elphinstone is waiting to happen.

Some of the issues where BMRCL could learn from Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai’s local trains and Metro:

(1) Run trains till midnight: Kindly note that Bengaluru is no longer the provincial town of 1970s. I simply can’t believe that BMRCL is intransigent and refuses to run trains till midnight. In a city with population of over a crore, no train shall run empty even if it is run 24*7. BMRCL is not a textile shop to be shut at 11 pm. There are outstation trains coming into Bengaluru at all odd hours and availability of Metro till midnight shall help outstation travelers.

(2) No Multi Modal Transport Hubs: St Thomas Mount at Chennai and Andheri at Mumbai are likely to have multi-modal transport hubs with integration surface level trains, elevated suburban trains and metro. The officials who run BMRCL would do well to visit these localities. BMRCL must learn to integrate its system with Suburban rail, BMTC and other modes. Running these trains in silos would not help improve traffic scenario in the city.

(3) Chaos at Stations and Lack of Parking Facilities: There are no proper sign boards at the metro stations. Some exits are closed, especially at Central College station and Cubbon Park stations. Lack of proper parking facilities at stations such as Nayandahalli, Hosahalli and Vijayanagar also adds to the misery of commuters.

(4) Improper temperature setting of the Air conditioners: The temperature setting of the air conditioners both within the train and at the station premises is not right. The temperature needs to be set at a level, which would be comfortable for the human body. It is either too cold or too hot. Due consideration needs to be given to weather conditions as well when setting the temperatures. It is also suffocating when there are far too many people on board the train.

(5) Frequency of trains leaves a lot to be desired: This has meant that most of the trains are overcrowded during peak hours. The frequency between trains running between Byappanhalli and Mysore road and on the opposite direction does not match. One has wait for almost for ten minutes to catch a train to Mysore road whereas there are trains every four minutes to Byappanhalli. I fail to understand the logic behind this. This is between 9 pm and 11 pm on all days.

I am sure most of the grouses of commuters shall fall on deaf ears. If BMRCL continues to operate in the same way, then it is no better than the other parastatal BMTC. Profit-seeking should not be the main objective of organisations like BMRCL or BMTC. We might as well have private players in the transport sector if profits are the only motive. At least, we shall be assured of better services. Private players would also make an attempt to subsidise ticket costs through advertisements, rentals and parking fees.

There is also a Change.org petition floated by Citizens for Better Bengaluru. The petition urges BMRCL to increase the frequency to tackle the peak and non-peak hour load.

Public transport is not for making profits alone but to serve the public.With so much rush during non peak hours with virtually no place to stand ,Please increase the metro frequency from 15 mins to every 6 mins in non peak hours and every 3 mins in peak hours.

This will give popularity to metro transport over BMTC .Also it will reduce our waiting time.Many of us have to climb the stairs and walk a lot to reach the metro station locted on second floors (escalators and lift absent at many stations) which itself consumes a lot of time.Added to it we have to wait.Kindly increase the frequency.

Recently, Metro Public Relation Officer tweeted this:

While the ridership figures are breaking new records, the crowd at Baiyappanahalli and Kempegowda stations is mind-boggling. The Purple line, even with a train running every four minutes in the peak hour, is over-crowded, with no comfortable situation for children, disabled and elderly citizens. This is why the demand for extra trains and coaches is also increasing.

The green line is not-so-crowded, but with increased Metro coverage and BMTC feeders, the footfall is likely to increase. All these seem to suggest that Metro in Bengaluru is reaching a point of saturation.

Metro work in progress on Kanakpura Road. Pic: Shree D N

The BMRCL have indicated that they will be procuring more coaches and trains, even as the extension of phase-1 is progressing fast. The tender floated for communication systems mentions the intent of BMRCL to procure 16 new 6-coach trains, and convert the existing 50 three-coach trains to six-coach trains.

However, when these new coaches and trains will arrive on the tracks is still a matter of speculation. Therefore, the immediate need people see is to increase the frequency of trains, to help people travel comfortably and quickly, during peak and non-peak hours. One needs to wait to watch how BMRCL responds to citizens’ demands.

Shree D N
About Shree D N 76 Articles

Shree D N is an Associate Editor with Citizen Matters. She tweets at @chilipili

22 Comments

  1. 1) Frequency of trains be it purple or green line should increase.
    2) Boggies to be increased so that it is not overcrowded.
    3) To and fro connecting buses to the metro station should be more frequent.
    4) Buses don’t move immediately. They wait for 2 trains to come and go before they start.
    5) In and around the metro station at all locations should be maintained well.
    6) J P Nagar metro station does not have escalator to reach the platform.

  2. I am surprised that people have taken my comments on the poor efficiency of Metro personally.
    I have lived and worked in Mumbai and Chennai and was a regular commuter on Central Line in Mumbai and MRTS/ Suburban Rail in Chennai. The metro journey seems very comfortable but it is not the case. I do not wish to repeat the points but Chennai and Mumbai’s suburban rail even though archaic in terms of technology was very well planned. Transport is truly multi modal in these cities unlike Namma Ooru.
    Metro is looking to monopolize public transport in Bengaluru. We have seen the intransigence of Metro over the location of Cantonment Metro Station and the lack of connectivity between Yeshwanthpur Metro and Railway Stations. Are they trying to say that the suburban railway user from Tumkur and Kolar have no right to enter metro trains?

    • The classic example of non-nodal approach was when the Namma Metro Baiyappanahalli metro station was built and inaugurated in 2011. There is perhaps a huge wall between the South Central railway and Metro. There is no direct approach for the passengers who move between these railways leave along those with luggages. User experience and convenience is total lost in thought, design, approach

  3. The green line runs on one side of the road and no way a person can cross over to the other side without taking life risks. The Sobha Apartment right in front of Nagasandra station have no access to the station and many potential users are left to use their personal transport.A cross over facility similar to the one in Mysore Road station is very essential

  4. Not exactly a defence or another critique of BMRCL, just some points that I notice while traveling.
    1. Frequency mismatch happens the other way around in the morning. higher from BYP to MYS and lower from MYS to BYP. This is mainly owing to the fact that the depot is in BYP and they start ramping up the frequency first from the depot before it reflects on MYS side. You’d see the opposite in the evening. Why they cannot start the ramp up earlier as there are many office goers who’d benefit from higher frequency in the morning, that I do not know.
    2. Integration with buses and trains: The metro feeders are pretty good on the BYP side and well used too. I wish there were feeders from Marathahalli to BYP, only the opposite direction is available. But we just have to make do with what we got. There have been demands for rail connectivity from BYP to Whitefield and currently, if am correct, there is one train which does that. We definitely need a lot more frequency there, especially once the phase 2 construction to whitefield starts!
    3. More coaches: End of the year is what they have promised. We are close. One hopes it is not another case of delays!
    4. The exits are confusing: I don’t know what a Bangalore University exit is doing in a central college station! I get confused with the name every time. Something like KG road and Sheshadri road sides would’ve been simpler. It is very confusing getting to different platforms in Majestic. They can do a much better job there. Some of the boards in stations are plain misleading!
    5. Let us stop idealising private players please: We need services that run to get people to their destinations. BMTC operates like a pvt player where we pay the cost for their ticketing inefficiencies and targets. And they’re still better than the pvt players who ply regularly between KR Puram Rly station and silk board. I’d rather not have the share auto experience where my travel time depends on how many others want to travel in my direction!

  5. Bangalore should not operate 24/7, whatever BMRCL is doing is right, BMRCL is not an IT company to operate 24/7.
    Editor: Comment edited to suit our comments policy.

  6. It’s not even 11pm, the last metro train leaves at 10 pm. That’s the last , if you miss , you miss. I have suffered at baiyappanahalli. And it was only 10 pm, in a city like bengaluru , there is traffic jam even after midnight in areas like silk board n many more. If the idea is to reduce pollution and traffic , n give bengaluru people ease of transportation through metros , then the operating hours should be increased by 2-3hrs at least considering their current closing time ad 10 pm. It would be great relief to the citizens.

    • Rajni, I have taken trains from MG Road at 10:45. The timings have been extended by an hour and half.
      More is required though!

  7. Hello Amith Pallavoor Subramaniam sir you are telling absolutely correct and your suggestions also good but one thing mind it before talking about banglore
    Bangloreis a beautiful city which facing lots of troubles because of politicians of karnataka

    And very main thing don’t compare banglore to any other cities. Banglore providing excellent education, travelling facilities, road facilities and main thing it is providing jobs for crores of people including citizens of other countries and for only some small issues don’t make it as big.

    • Discussion is of different topic, no comparison between cities here, it’s only comparison of metro operation.

      Stay calm

      We are also bangaloreans

      Editor: Comment edited to suit our comments policy.

  8. Please note that Bengaluru was not built as a city with wide roads and thoroughfares like Chennai , Mumbai, Kokatta and Delhi . Hence the roads are narrow and in the recent decade and a half the population ( hence the users ) has tripled increasing the demand over a public transit like BMRCL to run as many trains as possible with increased frequency. Please also note that the frequency of the trains run is an optimised parameter based on multitude of multiple mutually dependent parameters like, the speed, number of coaches the safe interval of diastanve between the running train at any point of time on the track, optimised electric power usage and so many other parameters most of which are beyond the purview of discussion of common person like U and me. As regards the number of Metro stations and their location so many factors technical, topography, environmentalist’s demand on saving trees, land acquisition,service lines’ relocation, etc are all key factors to consider. In cities like, Chennai and Mumbai the Metro
    Routes are practically straight and along the median and most important of all as mentioned earlier the service lines, like, power, water, sewage, random number of bore wells , on these cities are/ were laid out by the British of pre independence period . Bangalore’ expansion post independence had not foreseen the mega population surge into the city mainly due to IT job and infrastructure opportunities and the real estate developers practically ‘ took
    Charge ‘ of developing the city, but only for providing residence which benefitted them most? A series of urban infrastructure issues have evolved since then.
    Hence, it would take quite a while before the Metro of Bengaluru will satisfy everybody’s commuting needs.
    The crowding at the metro is as much a civic responsibility of every user as it is of BMRCL . First of all let’s ask ourselves whether we follow the elementary discipline of forming a line for any service (.We don’t even follow the legally enforced rule of riding on two wheelers with a helmet ) . Whether it’s a Darshan of a popular deity of a renowned temple or lining up in front of ticket counter, or entering or leaving a train ( or even a plane ) the rush creating a chaotic mob is not a strange scene . In such a case, what do you expect a lone security guard at the gate do ? If he ( or she ) enforce his authority he won’t bevtaken seriously by the ‘ crowd ‘ . It’s easy to
    Be an arm chair analyst or a critic with a ‘ I know all ‘ mentality to comment on every public facility . But… putting oneself as of a metro security guard even one hour during the ‘ rush ‘ hour …. pls give it a thought on all points I have raised above, By the way, I do not work for BMRCL or for any security firm. I’m only a simple humble engineer who has seen the growth of Bangalore which as it stands now with so many from outside the state contributing well to the economic growth no doubt , but without any sense of belonging to the city they have adopted recently …

    • Excellent narration of city and mass transportation.

      Kudos to you for writing enlightenment of common man

      Editor: Comment edited to suit our comments policy.

  9. Hi Shree D N.
    Have you ever travelled in BMTC bus?
    After reading your article I don’t think so. Ask citizens who travelled in BMTC bus later who migrated to metro station. They would never say that the facelity provided is pathetic in metro stations. The citizen who would comment like yours will be the same people who migrated from car to metro stations. Lazy people who do not walk in for basic needs. These are the people who always want their TAX paid money back in these ways. everything u guys asking these days are not revelent. Please suggest some good ideas for metro stations instead of critrizing. I have more words to type instead I choose not waste my time.

  10. IT IS REALLY A CASE TO BE LOOKED UPON BANGALORE HAS REALLY CHANGED A LOT IT WAS BETTER EARLIER BUT THE POLITICS EVERYWHERE WILL SOON TAKE THIS PLACE TO A GREAT DOWNFALL
    PASSES SHOULD ALSO BE PROVIDED FOR STUDENTS IN METROS AND THERE SHOULD BE MORE TRAINS RUNNING TO ACCOMMODATE THE PUBLIC CAPACITY

  11. Overcrowded : BMRCL should make faster implementation of more boggies, keeping one exclusively for females , frequency should be reduced which will double,triples the transportation capacity,reduces the waiting period in turn reduces overcrowded in the Station’s.
    Connectivity and parking : Implementation of shared transportation using small vehicles within a radius of 3km 5km from a Metro Station will bring down more than 50% commuters driving there own vehicle to Metro Station.
    Public : All passengers needs to be ready to alight at there destination with energy and cautious .Acting like bride and bridegroom will make situation very bad.
    Future situation : BMRCL can only increase boggies, frequency all others needs to be decided by public.

  12. For green line metro the waiting time is really more, BMRCL should increase the number of coaches and and also make them atleast 5coach train.
    And there should be facilities for senior citizens (reserved seats).

  13. This is a very well written article capturing the reality of commuters on Bangalore Metro. The BMLRC has turned a blind eye towards the problems faced by a daily traveler. They don’t facilitate the commuters with basic necessities like chairs to sit on the platforms or inside the metro station premises; either there are no washrooms at all or they are located close by to the next metro station (too far distance). All these sound as if the BMLRC is here to harass the passengers, rather than facilitate for the convenience of public.

  14. While a general staywment can be made regaring the profitability of Metro,with
    the reported investment of close to 20,000 crores,can there be ever a time tobget any return on investment even with a increased ridership.Hencw BMRCL myst redefine its goal a a service provider and nit a profit making company.This thought might change their mind set to imcrease the nber of satisfied customers

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