BENGALURU: With ridership for Namma Metro constantly increasing, setting up shop inside Metro stations or in its vicinity was viewed as a lucrative affair. However, the initial euphoria has waned, with 50% of the commercial establishments forced to shut shop across Metro stations. Barring a few, even those which are functional, appear to be on shaky ground.
The stats speak for themselves: A total of 39 outlets have shut shop. An equal number is functional at the 11 stations of Baiyappanahalli, Indiranagar, Halasuru, Trinity, Vijayanagar, MG Road, Srirampura, Yeshwantpur, Rajajinagar, Mahalakshmi Layout and Jalahalli.
Even the iconic eatery ‘Dasprakash’ couldn’t thrive at the Metro Art Gallery adjacent to MG Road Station. A representative of the hotel had told TNIE a few months after it opened shop, “We are not even earning enough each month to pay monthly rent to Metro. What about our other overheads? Unless our rent is slashed, it is going to be difficult to sustain business,” he said.
At Trinity Metro Station, many outlets have shut shop. The popular Hyderabad-based salon chain ‘Sooper Xpress’ had bagged a five-year contract in February 2018 here. The hi-tech unisex salon aroused much interest initially, as commuters were asked to trim their beards or chop their tresses before boarding their trains.
Its proprietor Sridevi Reddy is far from happy today. “There is no support from BMRCL, particularly with the change in management. We’re not even allowed to advertise. Worse, our staff are not allowed to use the restrooms at the station and this was a reason a few quit,” Reddy said. She started her business here with the assurance that she would be given the contract for four other stations, but it never happened.
A staffer at a station said, “For small shops, we pay Rs 35,000 to Rs 45,000 as rent. That is a big drain on our earnings.”
Prema Satyanarayana of Chai Ki Tapri at MG Road Station was one of the few satisfied shop owners.
Chief Public Relations Officer, BMRCL, BL Yashvanth Chavan said, “We had asked shop owners to quote their prices. Based on their business in specific areas, they quoted the rents they can pay us. BMRCL did not fix it.” Asked what kind of businesses were able to survive, he said, “Coffee and tea outlets and eateries are doing well.”