It’s yet another usual day in Bangalore city with traffic snarls at all major business hubs. Somewhere between KR Puram and Whitefield Railway Station, behind one of largest housing complexes of the city a passenger train bound to Arakonam comes to a screeching halt at an unscheduled stop. Utilizing the micro stoppage, dozens of decently dressed people mostly from IT background, get down and start walking towards their workplace by hiking on and around the railway tracks. Whereas, the typical travellers in the train will be wondering by having question mark expression on their faces .. have these people have gone crazy ? what're they up to ?
Actually, the effort of mini-hiking is negligible in comparison to positives i.e. reaching workplace with just an hour ride from Majestic(SBC), by-passing all notorious traffic bottlenecks Kundanahalli, Marathahalli, Richmond, HAL and Graphite-India. If you can’t believe here’s the GPS log captured during train travel from Majestic to Whitefield. Distance=23.3 km, Time=42 mins, Max Speed=127.6kmph; the stats which is impossible to emulate when you travel by road between Majestic-Whitefield :)
It’s the frugal transport system followed by techies who reside around Majestic and work in Whitefield. Due to inept town planning by local administration, the commute time by roads from heart of the city to Whitefield has increased 2x times over last 2-3 years. The authorities planned for IT hubs but forget to create livable residential hubs. And the people residing in old and traditional localities have no option to make "long commute" part of their life.
The frequency of trains from Majestic to Whitefield and vice versa are limited, no complaints as they're meant for long distance travel. There’re only three trains in morning from Majestic (Bangalore City Station, SBC) i.e. Chennai Express at 8.00 am, Arakonam Passenger at 9.20 am , Bangarpet passenger at 9:45 am. In cliched terms, there’s no perfect option ! For catching 8.00 am train you need to rush from your home at a time when majority of people in your locality (around Majestic) would be snoozing their alarms and BMTC buses won’t be reliable for reaching railway station on time. But if you manage reach the station on time then you’re ensured to be in Whitefield Station(Kadugodi) by 8.45 pm. However, the scenarios are different for 9.20 am and 9.45 am trains. There will be a bus every 5 mins which will take you to SBC station on time but problem is that you will manage to reach office by 10.30 am (best case) that too after hiking on the railway tracks. If you want to avoid hiking then you need to get down at Whitefield Station and then take a bus from Kadugodi towards ITPL/EPIP and you will waste your precious 30 minutes and manage to reach office around 11.00 am (best case). And for obvious reasons you’re bound to be greeted through raised eyebrows from your colleagues !
|Chennai Express at 8.00 am||* Possibility of reaching your office by 9.00 am (best case)
||* Lack of reliable first mile connectivity (early in morning) from localities around Majestic.
* No option of getting down at SGW
* No back-up option. If you miss this train you either opt for 2.5 hrs bus ride from majestic or wait for next train at 9.20 am
|Bangalore-Arakonam Passenger at 9.20 am||* Very difficult to miss this train
* Option of getting down at SGW
|* Unreliable w.r.t. timings. Sometimes gets delayed by 30-40 minutes|
|Bangarpet passenger at 9:45 am||* It's an EMU train. Can make up the delays with swift acceleration/deceleration||* If you choose to get down at Whitefield then you can reach office by 11.30 am (best case).|
On top of all pros and cons you will have a peaceful ride to office, inhaling fresh air most part of the journey. Best moment in morning would be experiencing cool breeze between Bangalore East and KR Puram station which is rarity when you’re on roads, even in an AC bus/car. In evening, for getting to Majestic from Whitefield there’re limited options as well.
|Arakonam-Bangalore Passenger at 5.50 pm||* Takes you Majestic by 6:45 pm(best case) and 7:00 pm(worst case)
* Option of boarding at SGW
* Reliable most of the times. Can’t recall any day where it has arrived/departed more than 15 mins late at/from Whitefield
|* Very difficult to catch. One needs to leave desk by 5:00 pm|
|Chennai Express at 7:00 pm||* Can catch this train by leaving workplace at 6:15 pm||* Unreliable w.r.t timings. Usually it will be 15-20 mins and one day it arrived 1 hr 20 mins late.
* Sometime it gets stuck near Baiyappanahalli for 30 mins for allowing 2 trains from Salem side to proceed ahead.
However, all the cons can be ignored after having looking at impressive stats on a Friday evening, that too on a day before holiday weekend. Distance=23.3km, Duration=56 mins, Max Speed=102 kmph !
Let's analyze this frugal public transport through Cost, Time and Convenience
- Cost: Excellent. One-way fare on a passenger train is Rs.
410 only :)
- Time: Above average. Even though actual transit time is very less, delay in trains, first and last mile connectivity increases overall time.
- Convenience: Average. From one perspective you can have non-bumpy ride along with breathing natural air. But from a different angle, less frequency of train and occasional crowd in trains makes things inconvenient.
- All train timings are based new time table w.e.f 1st July 2012.
- SGWT is the official name of the platform-less unscheduled stop between KR Puram and Whitefield. Most passenger trains stop here for picking/dropping railway employees working at power sub-station.
- Recent report from RITES on Implementation/Revamp of Commuter Rail System (CRS) in Bangalore looks promising.
- Namma Metro will take ages to touch Whitefield. It comes under phase-2 and recently BMRCL has started Geo-techincal survey at a few locations.
- In morning, Sanghamitra Express at 9 am is also a fair option but it doesn't stop at Whitefield Station. People working in ITPL/EPIP need to get down at KR Puram and take unreliable 500 DF/DG from the bus stop adjacent to KR Puram station.
- The shared autorickshaws service from SGWT to ITPL back gate has been boon to fellow train travellers. Nowadays, close to 200-300 people get down at SGWT in morning !
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