|Underground Metro Station (pic taken from my mobile)|
It's been a hibernation for more than a year, with other priorities in life, blogging went into back burner for a long time. I was deliberating on the post to rekindle to saga of blogging to some extent, and ended up chosing this topic which has made an impact on most of the people in the city for last one year. Public transport has been one of my favourite topics which is evident from my previous post on BMTC, Suburban Rail in Bengaluru and also on Sustainable Transport.
The city of Bengaluru has finally has the axis of traversing. In yesteryears, there used to a word of wisdom for a new comer in the city "when you get lost in the city take a bus to Majestic from the nearest bus stop and you will reach your destination conveniently". With the completion of Phase-1 of Namma Metro in June 2017, there is definitely a paradigm shift. And the word of wisdom no longer valid and the new one would be "get to the nearest metro station to reach your destination".
Long Wait for South Bengaluru:
In Phase-1, the southern part was last to get completed. Somehow it's been a jinx with this part of city which doesn't even have a railway station and suburban train options. Unlike other locations. Baiyappahalli, Yeswantpur, Nayadahalli have seen chiku buku in their neighborhood for ages. The development as expected nothing short of controversy. The route from South End Circle to 9th Block faced lot of protest as it would destroy lush green cover through Lakshman Rao Park on Jayanagar 4th Main. There were many campaigns to take the route underground preserving the unique green cover. But the metro authorities ensured that loss of trees in only negligible which is evident in the below photograph!
|Top view of RV Road station (source: not sure, not able to make it from copyright)|
The weekend of the inauguration:
I had grand plans of traveling all four terminating stations on the weekend of inauguration of fully completed Phase-1. On the inaugural day (June 17th) the metro was not open to public and next day ended spending my entire day in hospital and labor room welcoming the new member in our family. The delivery happened two weeks in advance and all my plans went for a toss with other priorities :) This will definitely be an amusing tale for my little one when he has mind of his own.
First Ride from South Bangalore:
My first ride from South Bengaluru happened on day of the discharge of my little one when I took the metro from National College (nearest station from my home) to Soap Factory (nearest station to hospital). I was very excited to see the things getting materialized, especially after witnessing the construction of National College Station from the time of installation of sign board in 2004 saying "Proposed Site of the Station" and experiencing in numerous traffic snarls due to the diversion of traffic during construction.
|Me in Front of KR Market Station (pic taken by Ananth Shayan)|
The next weekend I managed to have a joy ride with Photography buddy Ananth Shayan. We took the metro from Mantri Square and landed up in KR Market. In search of our favorite hangout Anand Vihar for breakfast which has shifted by giving way its original space to KR Market station, we ended up going to Tippu's armoury. The is place which is in a neglected state in contrast to one near Srirangapatna which was in limelight recently for being shifted by some foreign experts to make way of doubling from railway line from Bengaluru to Mysuru. After our small sighseeing and breakfast, the return back to Malleswaram was an arduous task. Almost all the trains from Yelchenanahalli towards Malleswaram were fully packed with first time riders from South Bangalore. After making attempts 2-3 times, we took the metro in opposite direction and boarded our train to Malleswaram from the point of origin. The typical 'best practice' which has been frequently followed by commuters in Mumbai Local when they take the local towards Churchgate, CST as it is impossible to board the train at intermediate stations.
- Effortless Saturday ride: Traveling from my home (Basavanagudi) to my in-laws' place (Kumara Park) have been nightmare especially on Saturday evening, when the folks who don't take out their cars on weekdays, will end up being on the road for the weekend shopping. With the advent of the metro, the nightmare has been annulled as I can bypass all jams and travel from National College to Matri Square in 9 mins flat with additional 2*(10-15) mins walk for first and last mile connectivity!
- Ola Auto for first-mile connectivity: I have opted from Ola Auto whenever I am supposed to reach time my destination on/before time. Getting the auto to the doorstep and finish the first-mile commute without any bargaining and cash payment business has been a fair option. The perennial problem of auto guys not coming for shorter rides has been solved effectively with this option.
- Personal work in MG Road: One day I had to be in MG Road on a weekday for small personal work. With metro + ola auto option I managed to reach my destination in less than 25 minutes without hassles of waiting for a cab, surge pricing etc.
- Reaching for a meet-up in Cubbon Park: On a Saturday, I had a meet-up with my Photography Society executive members. After getting delayed in morning due to unavoidable reasons, I managed to reach the spot with only 5 minutes delay, again with Metro + Ola Auto option
- Feeder service from BMTC: The feeder service has been a big disappointment especially with respect to choice of routes and stops. For e.g. if I want to opt for feeder service from my home National college metro, I end-up more walking than actually the traveling in the bus. Not sure why BMTC is behind BMRCL for compensating them for the service which doesn't serve majority of metro users. Only silver lining are the cute small orange bus (Samparka service), which has been effectively designed with low floor boarding, space for standing/sitting etc.
- Mushrooming of high rise: All major players in Bengaluru real estate market are trying to encash with metro providing faster mode of connectivity. Over last couple of years, the Guidance Value and FAR Ratio have been increased at the location around existing or upcoming metro stations. Also, majority of the projects have been opportunistic, like the ugly 25+ high rise next to Mantri Mall and Station with a price tag 3.5 crore+. Not sure if the people who can afford homes with such a price tag would really opt for travel by metro ?
With phase-1 just completed, we will still have a long way to go before metro connects all key locations in the city. May be we will see light at end of the tunnel when majority of people of my generation are close to retirement ! :) I will be periodically refreshing this post with latest experiences and updates.
How has been your experience with metro so far ? Feel free to comment below for your stories.