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.
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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:
Yet another milestone Ridership 28th Sept-thanks to ppl’s patronage
Purple Line 2,37,580
Green Line 1,72,470
Total : 4,10,050
— Namma Metro CPRO (@uavasanthrao) September 29, 2017
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.
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.