BENGALURU: The nerve centre of the 42.3km Phase-I — the four-layered Nadaprabhu Kempe Gowda station (Majestic) — resembled a packed tourist spot on Sunday. It appeared to be a family’s day out for many.
Passengers who alighted here from the East-west line or the North-south line and were attempting to cross over to the other line for the first time were seen desperately seeking directions. From Home Guards, private security staff, Metro officials to housekeeping staff, almost everyone took on the role of a guide to the visitors.
“Go to Platform 1 for Baiyapanahalli and Platform 2 for Mysore Road,” they were heard directing the public. The numerous framed maps were crowded with people seeking directions and many captured it on their phones for future use.
Crowds poured in non-stop, thanks to heavy publicity, social media campaigns and enthusiastic Bengalureans circulating pictures of the KG station through Whatsapp groups. Almost every family wanted somebody to take a photo of them inside the station.
Despite all the confusion, people were enjoying the moment. Every downward movement of the lift to the two underground corridors brought in a new crowd of people.
“This station is unbelievable. I feel like I am in a different world,” said senior citizen Nirmala Ravishankar, who had come here with her husband and children. “This is so comfortable. We used to take an hour by car to reach from Lalbagh to Majestic but it took us only 10 minutes today,” she said.
Pallavi R, a computer teacher in a private school, went with her cousin and children to Sampige Metro station in order to travel to KG Metro station. “We realised that the first train on the Green Line would start only at 4pm. So we went to Mantri Mall and spent four hours there with the kids and came back here again,” she said. A few people spent more than an hour walking around the station.
Asked about the milling crowds at Majestic, Chief Operations Manager B L Yashvanth Chavan said, “The patronage has definitely been up to our expectations. You can see for yourself. This station might end up like the Metro stations in Japan where the staffers wear gloves for work daily as they need to push in passengers physically to ensure that the doors are shut.”
BMRCL Managing Director Pradeep Singh Kharola said, “The response has been as expected. People were thrilled to travel today. The mammoth Central dome of Majestic was full of people for the first time.”
Chief Public Relations Officer U A Vasanth Rao said, “Metro ride today appears to be more popular than the Indo-Pak cricket match.”
However, it remains to be seen how Metro is going to handle the rush in the coming days, particularly the frisking and ticketing parts.
It was a ride to remember for many
Scores of people waited at the Mantri Square Sampige Road Metro station to board the first train. Many were there for the sheer experience to be on board the first train. For enthusiasts, it was an event more significant than the India-Pakistan finals. Decked up with balloons and colour papers, stations invited the passengers. Many travelled long distances to get a glimpse of the new stretch. Just as the train passed a well lit metro station to the tunnel, children on board burst out with loud noises as the dark stretch began. As the train emerged out of the tunnel, it was the greenery of South Bengaluru which made for a visual treat for passengers. People from all walks of life had made it to the train. From children just over a year old to many sexagenarians, Bengaluru’s residents were overjoyed.
ahoy! all aboard
The first couple to get on board the Metro from Yelachanahalli on Sunday were C Thara and Amith Kumar. “We went for a housewarming ceremony at Yelachenahalli in the morning and were delighted when they told us that the first South Metro run was today. Though the function got over at noon, we waited till 3.30pm in their house to get on board this first train,” said Thara, a project manager at Samsung. “We would have paid anything between D650 and D700 to reach our residence in Ramamurthy Nagar. Now we will change at Majestic to reach our place,” Kumar added.
Among the few little
ones on board were sisters Neema and Navya accompanied by their parents. “Super. It is so much fun,” said Neema, studying in Class IV at K M V Red Hills High School. “It is so cool inside,” her sister added.
Senior citizen Prabha Sudhakar, who has relocated from Chennai, says, “It is definitely better than Chennai Metro! I often go to the ISKCON temple. My son says that if we board the train at Jayanagar, we will reach Mahalakshmi Layout station within 20 minutes. It is a huge relief for me.”
Muniyappa, a firewood dealer, was delighted. “I will reach Majestic within 15 minutes for just D30.
It takes two hours by bus. Therefore, I will
commute to work daily by Metro hereafter.”