The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) —Namma Metro—organised a special tour of the new Metro stations of Cubbon Park, Vidhana Soudha and Majestic Interchange stations, on March 15, 2016. Metro Public Relations Officer Vasanth Rao had earlier promised some ”Happy News’ on Twitter, and he was probably referring to the opening of East-West corridor of Metro soon.
The plan was to take Bangalore In charge Minister K J George, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation Managing Director Ekroop Caur and media representatives to Cubbon Park, Vidhana Soudha and Majestic Interchange stations, to check the progress of work.
Into the underground stations
The Cubbon Park station was almost ready. Check the images.
Next we were taken to the Vidhana Soudha Metro station.
Next was the important station of all, Majestic Interchange. The work was going on in war footing on level 1 for East-West corridor, which was isolated from the level 2 that hosts the north-south line that lies beneath at a depth of 22 metres. Metro officials said it was an engineering challenge to isolate them, which was essential to start the East-West corridor in which all stations are ready.
The text on the board projected a timeline of 10 days to open the level -1. A miniature of the station displayed had the prominent features of the interchange station explained visually – an eight-floor building above the stations that will be used for paid parking and commercial activities, that will help monetise the real estate Metro has with it. This is being built at a cost of 500 crores, and can confortably accomodate 20,000 people at a time.
The total built up area of Majestic Interchange will be 7.5 acres—the size of seven football stadiums—said Pradeep Singh Kharola, BMRCL Managing Director. This is the station that connects KSRTC, Railways and BMTC through skywalks or subways and will be the biggest multimodal transport hub in Bengaluru. The Metro footfall that’s at 45,000 per day right now will increase manifold once more lines are operational.
Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety is to inspect East-West Metro line anytime after March 25th. While explaining the work going on in the station, Kharola requested K J George to form an integration committee having BMRCL, BMTC, KSRTC, DULT etc on board, to plan for better coordination of city transport. The Minister agreed and asked BMRCL to send a proposal.
Why delay in Phase-I?
Pradeep Singh Kharola also explained the reasons for the delay of North-South Metro line. He said the Kaveri TBM coming from Chickpet to Majestic had to go through an area near Majestic, where there was loose soil on the top and hard rock beneath, which was very delicate to handle, because of the buildings on it, hence was going very slow, though there’s only 144 metres to reach Majestic. Krishna TBM boring the parallel tunnel on the same route has 420 metres left, and will be reaching the Kempegowda station by the the end of June.
On the other hand, Godavari TBM tunnelling from Sampige Road to Majestic is 186 metres away from Majestic Interchange. BMRCL expects it to reach the breakthrough at the Interchange in another 40 days—by the end of April. Once that is done, BMRCL hopes to run Metro from Sampige Road to Majestic by July, and Puttenahalli to National College by August/September. BMRCL expects Phase-I including the North-South underground tunnel to be completed and open for public by December 2016.
In Phase 2, work on Mysuru Road reach and Kanakpura Road has started and three contracts have been awarded. Land acquisition has been notified in Whitefield and payments will start from April 2016. Land acquisition for Gottigere-Nagawara line will begin next month. Notification for Jayanagar-Electronic City line will be issued soon and payments would start from May 2016. By 2018, Mysuru Road and Kanakpura Road reaches are targeted to be finished, and entire phase 2 should be completed by 2020, according to BMRCL.
Later during the press interaction, K J George said that the plans were underway to propose new Metro lines from the city to Airport. Another line from Dairy Circle to K R Puram is also being proposed in PPP mode. The government plans to implement suburban railway, in phase wise manner. Many other transport modes like monorail and sky buses are being discussed to decongest the city’s traffic, he added.
BMTC’s ITS plan pushed to April
Ekroop Caur, Managing Director of BMTC, told Citizen Matters that BMTC will provide feeder buses to complement Metro, wherever required. There is a circular route operational from Mantri Mall to Majestic, MG Road and Shivajinagar, and one in Whitefield. There will be more buses depending on the footfalls at Metro stations.
There will be integration of ticketing systems of BMTC and BMRCL. RuPay card designed by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) will be introduced in BMTC buses to enable people travel without cash, which can be used to purchase tickets as well as to shop.
When asked about Intelligent Transport System that was to be launched in BMTC, she said the scheme will be launched in April. She added that buses have been fitted with GPS systems and Electronic Ticketing has been introduced. Trials are on. Once the system is launched, people will be able to see the buses and expected time of arrivals through BMTC app. Earlier in an interview to Citizen Matters, Ekroop Caur had said that the ITS will be launched by January 2016.
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