BENGALURU: On Friday, when the City was flooded and serpentine traffic turned out to be a test of patience for everyone on the streets, Namma Metro quietly broke its record for best ever ridership figures (barring the high witnessed during the three-day bus strike from July 25 to 27).
Metro had 1,79,598 commuters on June 29 and earned `34.9 lakh. Probably these figures prompted Metro officials to insist on Friday night that Metro would run as per schedule on Saturday despite the bandh call. However, as the morning unfolded, things did not pan out as expected.
So, why exactly did Metro decide to pull the plug on operations despite the recent enhancement of security in the form of the Karnataka State Industrial Security Force?
This is exactly took place, according to sources. As the Metro station at Mysore Road opened its shutters a few minutes before 6am, a large group of protesters agitating against the Mahadayi Tribunal order, entered the station one by one. “Many bought tokens and crossed the fare collection gate. Then they reached they platform. They had a few flags,” said a source.
The Station controller instantly sensed trouble and alerted officials at Metro’s Operations Control Centre (OCC) at Baiyappanahalli. “Within a few seconds, some members of the group started lying down on the platform and started rolling around,” said a top official. “The controller again discussed with officers at the OCC and decided to call off operations,” he added.
Any disruption to a train could have a cascading effect on all the trains that follow.
Things were pretty smooth on the Northern Line from 5am until protesters barged into the Sampige Road station with flags and raised slogans. “With the help of security, Metro officials managed to make the group leave the station.
However, the agitators were lurking outside the station,” the official said. Fearing vandalism, the shutters of the station were downed. Operations across all Metro stations were called off and services were restored only at 5 pm.