BENGALURU: Namma Metro, seen as the ultimate solution to the massive traffic congestion in Bengaluru, is now seen as a major contributor to that very problem. The villain of the piece is the lack of vehicle parking space near Metro stations, causing commuters to haphazardly park their vehicles in a rush to take the train to their respective destinations, obstructing vehicular traffic as well as pedestrian pathways. This seems to be causing bigger congestion than before.
Commissioner for Transport and Road Safety VP Ikkeri on Wednesday squarely blamed Metro for failing to provide parking space. This, despite Metro transporting more than 4 lakh commuters daily and regularly breaking its own ridership records.
“Metro has created more problems now. To reach Metro stations, commuters come in cars or two-wheelers and park them on the roads below or around the Metro station. This has only increased the congestion in the city,” Ikkeri said while talking at a programme organised to mark the launch of a road safety initiative by an online food delivery platform.
Experts, however, are blaming it on the absence of last-mile connectivity even as the vehicle population has burgeoned to a whopping 76 lakh with over 1,800 new vehicles getting registered every day. Traffic expert MN Sreehari, too, confirmed that Metro stations are indeed causing congestion in the city. With no two-wheeler parking, Sreehari says, the available spaces are given to set up shops and restaurants. “Metro should focus on providing good service to the people rather than profit-making,” he said.
Although stations like Yeshwanthpur do have a parking space which costs Rs 30 per hour, Sreehari wondered why residents would pay extra for parking and then take the metro.Prof Ashish Verma, from Indian Institute of Science’s Transport Research Group, solely blamed the lack of last-mile connectivity for the traffic congestion. “It is wrong for the transport commissioner to say that the Metro is the cause of the issue. It is understood that the Metro has helped people move in a sustainable manner,” he says.
Civic expert V Ravichandar said these issues should have been planned while designing the Metro itself. “Experts should have thought about the interchanging modes after and before leaving the station. Yes, it is a bottleneck out there!”
Urban expert RK Misra said, “The Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) should focus on identifying locations to set up bus bays and create space for pick and drop-off.No parking should be given for four-wheelers.”