The ‘modern’ Metro stations in the city will not have any public toilets. BMRC appears to be shirking responsibility by saying that the government has to take initiative for this.
"As Metro is a short distance train for travel within city, it will take only 2-3 minutes to go from one station to another. It cannot be expected to provide facilities given by long distance trains," says Metro spokesperson Y B L Chavan.
"There is a proposal to have toilets outside the terminal stations, that too only at the traffic integration areas (where other public transport is linked to Metro stations) outside the stations. It is a policy decision and government has to decide on this," he adds.
The Byappanahalli terminal station along Reach 1 (from Byappanahalli to MG Road), which is expected to be open soon, does not have provision for toilets.
A highly placed source at L&T – which is the contractor for giving station plans to BMRCL for Reach 4 stations – says that the plans for many stations include toilets. "Public toilets for men and women are to be provided in the ground floor of most stations, according to BMRC criteria. But we are not sure of how stations are being constructed and who would be responsible for maintaining the toilets," he says. BMRCL authorities are tight-lipped about station plans.
According to a report in The Hindu last month, during an interaction with Indiranagar Resident Welfare Associations, BMRCL Managing Director N Sivasailam had said that toilets would not be necessary. G Ramamurthy, Secretary of Coordinating Committee of Indiranagar RWAs, says, "An association member had raised the issue of toilets, to which Sivasailam replied that most other Metro stations do not have toilets as travel time is short. But he promised to consider it."
Ramamurthy says that RWAs are not raising the issue more strongly now, but as more stations are opened, travel time will increase and toilets will be needed. "It is a concern especially for the elderly. We will see later and take it up if necessary," he says.
Metro’s claim that there are no toilets in most other Metro rails also does not make sense. While Calcutta Metro does not have toilets, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) – which is the prime consultant for Bangalore Metro – has toilets in most stations. DMRC initially had not installed toilets citing similar reasons as BMRC, but later started building them due to public demand.
Delhi High Court in 2007 also issued an order in response to a PIL, saying that there should be toilets in all Metro stations. DMRC had responded at the time saying that it had already constructed toilets in 45 of its 58 stations, and that work was on in another six.
Many Metro stations in other countries also have toilet facility. For instance, Dubai, London and Miami Metro rails have toilets in almost all stations. While some like New York and Boston metros have toilets in key stations, others like Hong Kong and Singapore are contemplating improving their facilities due to demand.⊕
Atleast they should be present inside the station, for genuine travellers.
For interchange stations, public toilet is a must. What if people coming from far off places like Chikballapur and Kolar by train, come to Baiyappanahalli, and then take a metro? How will they relieve themselves after such a long journey?
So typical of the short-sighted planning that our government agencies indulge in. How can any public building be without toilets? Thanks for bringing this lapse to our notice, Navya!