BENGALURU: It was 3.45pm. Excitement among commuters taking the first passenger ride on the Phase 1 metro was soaring. Scores of people were waiting at Mantri Square station to go towards Yelachenahalli. However, the enthusiasm among the passengers was short-lived. When the train arrived, there was chaos at Mantri Square station for a while.
Several passengers had boarded the train to Yelachenahalli. However, ground staff at Sampige were unaware of this and they forced the passengers out of the train. Arguments followed. Passengers began questioning the staff as to why they were provided tickets to Yelachenahalli if the train terminated there.
Following this, the ground staff had to co-ordinate with the top officials and the same train was allowed to run till Yelachenahalli. The train was scheduled to start at 4pm, but it left at 3.58 pm.
“We boarded the train hoping it would be a memorable experience but it turned out to be a bitter one,” said S Byrappa, a passenger who boarded the train from Rajajinagar station.
On-board announcements were not made about the approaching stations. The digital display on the train remained non-functional till Lalbagh station leading to confusion.
“It is problematic for many as there is no display. It is a new route and we cannot assume everyone knows the route,” said Nagaraj Shastry C A, a resident of Ulsoor.
The sign boards at stations were also not updated regarding the new reach these trains were covering.
At Majestic, many did not know the way to platforms. Majestic, a point where both the green line and purple line metro meet, saw a record footfall.
At Yelachenahalli, with passengers thronging in unexpected numbers, the staff had a challenging time issuing tickets and managing the entry gate.
RACE TO THE FIRST TRAIN
For many, it was a matter of making it first to the first train. They were the first every time a new stretch was thrown open. Mohan H A, a 57-year-old resident of Shankar Mutt near Rajajinagar, has taken the first train every time the Metro threw open a new stretch. He was on board the first train even on Sunday. “The Central government must make it a point to give more grants to Karnataka. London and New York metros are more effective as the stretch it covers is large.
That has to happen even in Bengaluru,” he said. Eight-year-old Pushkar was the first passenger to buy tickets when the first Metro stretch was inaugurated. Even on Saturday, he was among the first passengers to get a ticket. “I like travelling from Kempe Gowda Metro Station. The train goes underground there and I enjoy the ride then,” he said. “It is a loss for me not to watch the match. But we want him to make it to the first train,” said his father Ananth Vittal.