Bosses aren’t only reason why techies change jobs!

Asha Kumar is seeking a job change as she cannot stand commuting on Outer Ring Road for four-and-a-half hours every day.
File image of congestion along ORR
File image of congestion along ORR

BENGALURU : Bengaluru has attained global infamy for its commuting woes, but if you want to know just how bad the situation really is, consider this: there are actually people willing to change jobs, opting for thinner salary packages, to just have a job closer home and avoid the torture of travelling long distances to and from work. Asha Kumar stays in Hebbal and works in Whitefield. She is seeking a job change as she cannot stand commuting on Outer Ring Road for four-and-a-half hours every day.

“I don’t mind bringing home lesser money than what I make now, if it means I can spend lesser time on the road. When it rains, it takes close to five hours. The ongoing white-topping work from Hebbal to Hennur has made matters worse for me,” says Asha, despite her company providing her and her co-workers the BMTC Volvo shuttle. A good five hours lost in commuting means no personal life for her.
Chitra Koushik is one of those who has already made the jump for precisely this reason.

“I stay in Sahakaranagar and used to travel to Electronic City earlier. It used to take me two-and-a-half hours just to reach my office. It killed my productivity and the reason I switched my job to another company in Jayanagar was because of this,” says Chitra, a software developer.“I worked there for a whole year, during which I was neither productive at home nor at office,” she says exasperatedly.

“People are ready to change their jobs, just to make sure they don’t have to drive in traffic for long hours. They prefer to take up a job that is easily accessible. A large percentage would be willing to use the suburban rail if the train services are available and reliable,” says Tara Krishnaswamy, co-founder of Citizens for Bangalore (CfB) and part of the #modalutrainbeku (‘First, we want trains’) campaign.

Explaining the effect of congestion on one’s mental and physical health, Suhas Narayan Murthy says, “I used to work in Mahadevpura and joined an office in Nagawara, which is just 20 minutes away from my home. I used to suffer from back pain, stress and anxiety. I felt angry and frustrated the whole day. I was perpetually exhausted. I did not want to talk to my wife nor spend time with my kids because I was dead-tired. And I couldn’t give my 100 per cent at work either.”

A visibly defeated techie, Namratha Nayak, says: “I travel 10.5 km from Horamavu to Whitefield (where she works) every day. It takes 2.5 hours one way. I want to change jobs because it is practical to live near your work place. But I can’t do this because there are no other options that align with my interests. And there is no point trying because there is traffic everywhere.”
In the run up to the Rail Yatra on August 31 as part of #modalutrainbeku campaign, the CfB undertook a survey among IT employees taking the Outer Ring Road. Of the 350 responses they received to the online survey until Sunday, one in five employees spend a taxing two-and-a-half hours just to reach work. 80 per cent, that is four in five, people said they spend one-and-a-half hours travelling each way.
The idea behind the survey is to understand the preferences of people when it comes to commuting to work. The statistics are testament to the desperation felt by citizens who spend a major portion of their daily life commuting.

Ashwin Sekhar, a volunteer who is overseeing the survey shares, “Their quality of life is poor if they are spending nearly 2.5 hours commuting just one-way. At least 75 per cent of them are stuck in traffic as they use their own vehicles or app-based cabs.”

The Rail Yatra on August 31 will take place from Yeshwantpur to Carmelaram, passing through ORR where the software hubs are located. The train along this line passes through Lottegollahalli, Hebbal, Banaswadi, Bellandur road, Carmelaram and Heelalige, and already has techies utilising it.“For those who are already using it, one issue according to the survey is timings.

They are odd times such as the train leaving at 6 am and returning at 2.30pm. Poor accessibility to stations, lack of streetlights and expensive parking are other complaints we received,” Tara Krishnaswamy says.“All the above are low-hanging fruit. The Railways just needs a few lakhs, not even crores, to make the tweaks in train services and station infrastructure. Thousands of techies will ditch their cars, get off the roads and take the train to work,” she says.

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