Eleven years after then PM Manmohan Singh laid the foundation stone for the Namma Metro project, Bengaluru gets its 42-km Metro network, fulfilling the one dream lakhs of Bengalureans share-a hassle-free commute. The Green Line+ section, connecting Mantri Square Sampige Road and Yelachenahalli, was inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee.
It took 11 years, five chief ministers and an investment of Rs 14,200 crore to make the city get a Metro system that mitigates the city’s traffic woes. Bengaluru is now only the country’s second city , after New Delhi, to have a full fledged Metro system.
With the completion of 12 km-stretch, brings south Bengalureans on board, and will now allow commuters on the north-south and east west corridors to switch lines at the Kempegowda-Majestic Interchange, Asia’s biggest metro station -the Kempegowda Majestic inter change. In all, the Metro is expected to cater to at least five lakh people with the complete rollout of the first phase.
Eager first passengers who were waiting at the station were also visibly excited. 77-year-old SVS Rao, who managed to get on the second train that left the Sampige Road station, said, “This train will help me travel with ease. I can now get down at National College and walk to my bank,” he said. He used to travel by bus before. Saturday’s trip was a trial run.
B. Deendayal, an IT employee, boarded the train at the Kempegowda Station. A resident of Kengeri, he said he was excited to be part of the second ride of the new south line. Sandeep B, who used to spend around two hours every day to travel from his home in RBI Layout near JP Nagar to his office at Mahalakshmi Layout, says he can’t wait to board a metro to work.
“I have been waiting for this day to travel by Metro and save not just time but money too. If I drive my car to office, I would spend Rs 7,000 a month. Sometimes, I would take the office cab just to relax or take calls,” he says.
Thousands of techies from south Bengaluru too are eagerly waiting to travel to Byappanahalli by Metro.
“Now we do not have to endure the Silk Board junction trauma. And we don’t have to fear the rain either,” says Sushmit Pal, a techie. “With metro connectivity through Majestic, we do not need to take our bikes to work anymore and suffer daily stress in the traffic.”
The Namma Metro team says it has gained valuable experience. “Phase I was new for all of us. We have learned our lessons from the execution of Phase I and will put that to use for the second phase,” says Pradeep Singh Kharola, MD of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL). “Now we are ready to ensure that we complete the 72-km network planned in the second phase within the 2020 deadline.”