BENGALURU: Namma Metro is indeed changing the way Bengaluru travels, but commuters say it needs better feeder services.
In January, the daily ridership of the Metro was 40,000. After the underground section from the Vidhana Soudha to the City Railway Station was inaugurated last week, ridership went up to more than a lakh.
The Metro expects three to four lakh commuters a day once the line from Sampige Road to Majestic is connected. That could take about two months.
Most college students and office-goers are thrilled the Metro is saving them time and money. But the feeder services, run by the BMTC, need to be more responsive, they say.
Sharanya, who lives on Mysuru Road, wants more buses to Nayandahalli because the exits of the Metro station are under a flyover, where getting autos is difficult.
She says commuters walk 3 or 4 km to reach the signal and find an auto or bus. “My previous commute would cost me `200, but now I just spend `30 in the airconditioned Metro!” she says.
She suggests the doors of the Metro trains have sensors instead of timers. “The timers can cause panic, especially when people are rushing in,” she explains.
The roads near the Nayandahalli station are full of potholes. Auto rides on such roads are hazardous, she says.
Indira Prasad, a student, has been using the Metro for three years. She says it is a lot safer and cheaper than buses and autos.
“Not everyone who wants to use the Metro lives within walking distance from a station. Good feeder services can increase the number of Metro users,” she says.
Feeder services don’t connect all localities now. Bazam Jasim suggests more buses during peak hours. “Having airconditioned Metro feeders would be great as we can avoid the heat and the sweat,” he says.
A Metro train covering the Outer Ring Road would reduce traffic by 50 per cent, he believes.
“No one had imagined Bengaluru would grow like this because of the IT sector,” he muses.
Vasanth Rao, Chief PRO, BMRTCL, says the BMRCL is working closely with the BMTC to provide last mile connectivity. The BMTC had put in place an elaborate feeder service when the Metro first commenced operations in October 2011. At first, the service did not receive good patronage and was truncated.
“With the Metro network expanding, the BMTC again sees an opportunity to engage with commuters for last mile connectivity. They have been collecting daily and hourly data from BMRCL to formulate a new route plan,” says Rao.
He expects it to be implemented in two or three days. “The most popular feeder route services are towards Whitefield in the East and Kengeri in the West,” he said.
A large number of techies take the Metro to SV Road and then take a bus to Whitefield. Likewise, college students take the feeder from Mysuru Road towards RV College, says Rao.
Commuters want feeder buses between Sampige Road and Majestic. “We’re looking into it. Soon, last mile connectivity issues will be solved,” Rao said.
Inputs from Drivers
Nobody understands bus routes better than bus drivers and conductors as they interact with the public every day. They can come up with pragmatic solutions after analysing road conditions, road width, and turning radius. The authorities say they are thus collating information from drivers and conductors. “Since BMRCL and BMTC are working as one single entity, we should have one of the best feeder route systems in the country,” says Rao, Chief PRO, BMRTCL.