The Metro Ride on Rajyotsava Day

1st of November was a state holiday - Rajyotsava - State Formation Day.  I thought it is as good a day as any to check out Namma Metro - the newly functional Metro train service in Bangalore.

I stay in Basava Nagar. I debated if I should take the Feeder bus service, which comes upto Vignan Nagar about 1.5 km away, but decided against it for two reasons - I still needed to drive upto this place and I was not sure about the frequency of the Feeder service.

It was overcast as I took my two wheeler and set off to Byappanahalli. I was not sure about the Parking facilities and thought two-wheeler parking was easier.  It is a fairly long drive to the Metro Station, especially since I had to take a longer route thanks to road divider.  Those coming from Big Bazaar side cannot take a right onto Metro Station thanks to the divider. I did pass three Metro Feeder buses - two on Suranjan Das Road. 

It was around 10.45 AM. The Metro Station did have fairly big parking facility - both for two and four wheelers.  I went on the escalator to the Ticket section.  There was not much crowd.  There were separators for people to stand in queue for tickets.  Despite this, people crowded around the counters and thrust their hands in - national habit.

I have disappointed to find that you could not get round-trip tickets. ("No return tickets" said a notice, pasted prominently).  There are a total of 4 Stations from Byappanahalli to M.G. Road - Swami Vivekananda Road, CMH Road, Halasuru, Trinity and there are four different ticket rates - Rs.10, Rs.12, Rs.14 and Rs.15!  Talk about simplifying things!

There were quite a lot of Security personnel, one of whom inspected my backpack. It was nice to see many women-folks among them as well.  There was a general air of politness among them, though the same could not be said of passengers. They crowded around Entrance and Exit gates, though the gates could take only one person at a time. 

The Station is impressive.  There are several display boards on when and where the next train comes and where it goes.

The train came on schedule and I hopped in.  It quickly became full, and there were a few who had to stand.  The seats face each other (like any metro train) and hence you cannot look out the window, without straining your neck.

The train doors closed with with suitable warning and the PA system inside the train turned on.  There were display boards inside with messages in English, Hindi and Kannada, besides announcements after announcements.  Some of them were downright silly like this one - "Please do not put tiffin boxes, water bottles and books between the doors to prevent them from closing". 

Half the people in the train had their cameras out and were clicking away. Evidently there were in it for the ride!   From the train, you do not get to know that you are going above roads, thus do not have the satisfaction of watching traffic (jams) below.

Stations came minutes after each other - the distance being quite short and there being no traffic jams.  In less than 15 minutes, we were in M.G. Road.

I needed to go on the other side of M G Road and realized that the pedestrian bridge was not done.  This is supposed to come up in the erstwhile Plaza Theatre compound.  I ended up crossing the road.

After I had completed some errands and had lunch, it was time to get back. I could see a long queue leading up to the M.G. Road Station - two queues in fact, from two sides.  It was a holiday and people had come to have fun.  I had three choices - wait in the queue till my turn came, take a bus from Residency Road or walk to the next Station - Trinity.  I chose the last and boarded the train from a near-empty Trinity station.  Soon I was in Byappanahalli, which now resembled a festive place.

I tried logging into the Metro website to give feedback and got a 500 Internal Server error.  The website sucks!

Interestingly, I found another Station driving via BEML gate the other day.  BEML Metro Station, which houses the model Metro Train.  What was amusing was it had a foundation stone with the names of prominent people, which included a Minister.  Is it their idea of fun?


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