BENGALURU: July 25 (Monday) marked the first time Metros were ever run with a five-minute frequency since the launch of the first train on October 21, 2011.
With the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) and the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) calling a strike over three days (July 25 to 27) last week, many Bengalureans depended on the Metros for their commutes.
It is no mean task to change train frequencies at such short notice as it involves co-ordination among many departments and minute planning. How did they pull it off?
Ever since the state government instructed the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) on Saturday evening to do whatever it could to help the public, it was a sleepless weekend for everyone at the department.
After it was decided to run a train every five minutes along the East-West Corridor during peak hours in the strike period, a few trial runs were conducted after midnight on Saturday to test its feasibility, said BMRCL Managing Director Pradeep Singh Kharola.
“It was a big challenge for us. We started with a 10-minute frequency when we launched operations, brought it down to eight minutes, then six minutes and then suddenly had to bring it down to five,” he said. “We were constantly in touch with the BMTC and the Transport Department as well,” the MD said.
Staff at the Operations Control Centre at Baiyappanahalli, the Signalling Team, the staff manning the system and the train operators all had to co-ordinate to pull this off, Kharola added.
Such a sudden shift in timings could pose problems in the system as running of these trains is automated, he explained.
It was a huge relief for everyone involved when the first train was run five minutes after the previous one at 8.30 am from the Mysore Road and Baiyappanahalli Metro stations. After the successful first run, a six-minute frequency was maintained till 9 am.
“After that, we ran trains every five minutes from 9 am to 10 am and 6 pm to 7 pm,” Kharola said.
It was also quite a challenge for all the young train operators. “Just a month ago, they were steering a train once every 10 minutes and in such a short time, they had to operate it every five minutes,” he said.
Chief Public Relations Officer U A Vasanth Rao said the success of the plan showed that the Metro was fully prepared to tackle contingencies. “The manner in which BMRCL managed the sudden need to cater to public demand shows that all our department is very efficient,” he said.
Metro’s officials were posted in large numbers at all its stations to manage the large number of passengers. The staff at the ticketing counters were also increased.