Monday, December 5, 2011

Eight Minutes

Here I come, hitting my blog after a brief gap, to write about nothing like Paulo Coelho's Eleven Minutes. Busy days at work kept me away from jotting down my thoughts. The month of November was exceptionally cold in Bangalore. Cyclonic storm and rains in Chennai sent mercury dipping in Bangalore too. Getting the morning cab on time and reaching work at 8 has become next to impossible. So I have been doing this exercise of taking Bangalore Metro, better known as, Namma Metro to work! 

I stay in New Tippasandra, about 2 km from Indira Nagar Metro station and work at Cunningham Road, about 2.5 km from Mahatma Gandhi Road Metro station. There are buses that ply from close to my house (Indira Nagar 80 feet road) to Shivaji Nagar (314, 314A/P/N, 139) and these buses ply via Indira Nagar CMH Road- Ulsoor- Dickenson Road- Cubbon road. A hop from Shivaji Nagar (a prominent bus terminus) onto any bus going towards Hebbal/Yelahanka/Yeshwantpur will take me to Cunningham road and a brief walk of 10 minutes to my office. 

Leaving home post 9 in the morning to reach office is a killer decision in Bangalore. To commute the distance of 11 km from my home to office, time taken ranges between 50-70 minutes due to heavy traffic congestion. Those who reside in Bangalore can definitely relate to copious time one spends in Ulsoor to reach MG Road, the most decisive bottle neck. MG Road itself has 6 signals over a stretch of 2.5 km, some of them marking "GO" Green signal at 120 or even worse 140 seconds interval. The more one slips from
9am departure from home, hits close to 9.30am or thereafter due to reasons - planned or unplanned, the more he/she will face the ire of Bangalore traffic.  Traffic is TERRIFIC.

Two weeks back, I decided to give this "two-buses" journey scheme a break. Of course, what is stated below might appear little tedious but it saved a lot of time and energises me in the morning despite the slumber that creeps into this city's environs during winter months. 

I take a brisk walk for 8 minutes to reach Indira Nagar 80ft road bus stop, board a bus to Indira Nagar Metro station, then board the Metro train and reach Mahatma Gandhi Road - my and Metro's destination. I then take a G-9 bus, right outside MG Road Metro Station to Cunningham road, again walk for 10 minutes and reach office. The total travel time despite many hops and ups-downs comes down from 60/65 min to 30/35 minutes. 

Reason - Namma Metro, however slow it wriggles on tracks laid between buildings, covers the deadly bottle neck in 8 minutes - ON DOT.

The metro train is punctual, no question of congestion up there on the tracks, seats in train during office hours are full but there is ample space to stand and standing for 8 minutes is not a pain. There is no pollution and no squeezing of fellow passengers against the ticket collector. As the metro chugs past Ulsoor, crosses Trinity circle and reaches its final stop at MG road in 8 minutes, one only thinks - WOW! ... the race against time is completed in style. 

A trip from Indiranagar to MG road by Metro costs Rs 12 per person, for now it is tad costly but I am sure that with future expansions and route completion, Metro will draw more crowd and lessen the fare. Commuters in weekdays rush hour are office goers, many who work in banks and other offices on MG road and Trinity circle. On weekends, there are all sorts of people on board, those who want to go shopping, catch a movie, enjoy a trial ride, kids who want to want to cling onto the holders inside train, swing using them as if they were Roman Rings and catch a view of the city from a height. 

The current route plies from Byappanahalli to MG Road, a short stretch I must admit, well supported by feeder buses. This eight minutes journey by Metro from Indira nagar to MG Road has helped me avoid head aches and migraines. But there is a big, nagging question I have, not one, but many ...

Bangalore has multiple railway stations at Byappanahalli, KR Puram, Bangalore East, Bangalore Cantonment, Bangalore City (Majestic), Malleshwaram, Yeshwantpur, Banaswadi and Yelahanka and more which I may not know. Why the thought of leaving Electric Multiple Units (EMU trains) on these tracks with stops at these stations never occurred to the state government? I had written twice to the decision making body when Namma Metro was planned but no avail. BEML (Bharat Earth Mowers Limited) factory located in Bangalore makes coaches for electric trains running in Chennai and Mumbai, then why does this workshop not churn out coaches for Bangalore local trains? Feeder buses now used to connect Metro could well have been used to connect all the above railway stations to prominent city centers. If there are AC electric lines already running above tracks in place, why lay a third DC rail, build many pillars, lay tracks, fell tress, dig and scoop earth out, make potholes on roads of Bangalore which are already crushed under the weight of incessant traffic during the day and heavy metro-work related machinery during night? This cannot be a case of simple overlooking or a careless flaw in planning. It only seems an orchestrated effort to start something anew as this alone brings forth fresh contracts, more money and thereby more SCAMS. 

Questions remain and concerns grow on the change of scape of a city I have always loved since the day I landed. But as I even reckon them .. eight minutes are over and I prepare to get down at MG Road station. 

1 comment:

Rahul said...

Interesting. The metro trains will keep running on the same track round and round. No changes in track required. Probably less skilled drivers required.... I think having a separate track is good to avoid congestion with existing trains..... Regarding your schedule, have you tried to walk directly from your house to the old madras road station ?