With the inauguration of Namma Metro on Sunday, all eyes will be on it as it is expected to carry four lakh commuters everyday connecting the four corners of the city. Traffic experts say that the city traffic will come down by around 15-20 per cent. This is really great news for Bengaluru.
But there’s more, Metro’s poor country cousin – suburban rail – has been quietly sweating it out and slowly but steadily gaining in popularity. Most of the train timings don’t match with that of office-goers. Traffic at places that lead to the station are nightmare at most places and stations hardly have any facilities to write home about.
MS Vinugopal who works as a project manager with a multinational software company spoke to Bangalore Mirror,
“My back pains have gone and even the cost incurred for traveling to work has come down drastically. I get to spend more time with my family by avoiding the city’s chaotic traffic bottlenecks that have become synonymous with the city’s tech corridors of Bellandur, Electronics City, Hebbal and Yeshvanthpur.”
Vinugopal had switched jobs over two months, but currently works at Manyata Tech Park. He used to work in a company located in RMZ Ecoworld in Bellandur. He also bought a house in Bellandur as he wanted to stay near his work place. But still he had to leave his house by 8 for his shift that began at 10.30 am; and the drive to office took a toll on his health.
“A month back, I learned about Carmelaram station while reading a story on suburban trains and train timings in Bangalore Mirror. Now I take the 9:15 am train that connects three major tech parks along the Hosur-Yeshvantpur railway line. It takes me less than 40 minutes to reach my office in Manyata Tech Park which has good connectivity with Banaswadi Railway Station. This has helped me work better and my stress levels have come down as I don’t have to drive to work,” he said.
Footfalls have increased in Carmelaram station and the Bellandur Road railway station in the past few weeks. Apart from techies, but people residing around the city like Whitefield, Sarjapur, Bellandur and Hebbal have started using these lesser known stations either to get to Bangalore Central or Yeshvanthpur.
Abhigna S, HR manager with a software company said,
“Earlier I use to take the office cab from my home in Sarjapur to my office in Hebbal. My husband’s office is on outer ring road near Sarjapur and hence we bought a house there. It was getting difficult for me to maintain a work-life balance due to the commute. I used to start at 9 am and reach office after a couple of hours on the road. The return journey used to be just as hectic.
“Two months back, I got to know from a friend about the Carmelaram station. It was within walking distance from my house. The train timings suited me just fine and now I reach office in 35 minutes. The journey is quite safe as many women working in the tech corridor travel by train.”
There is also a group called Trainspotters, on the messaging app Telegram tha has around 2000 members. They update train timings and other details through animal emojis.
Krish Hanumanthu, an entrepreneur, said:
“I am still struggling to get a hang of the group because I am new to train travel. But people who know it well get ready according to the time being flashed on the group, grab their breakfast and walk into the station just in time to catch the train. I don’t think travelling could get any better.”
Shashank Gowda, assistant manager with a software company said,
“I shifted to Bengaluru from Hyderabad a month back and am currently staying with my brother who works at ITPL and stays in Bellandur. I started taking the train to my office in Manyata Tech Park. Now I have put plans to shifting to Hebbal on the back burner.”
Ipe Walliaveetil, who works with an NGO, said:
“Not much has been done on the suburban railway frontier. Barring a few trains, not all run on time. If this can be checked, then train travel will attract more passengers. Also, the state government should work on providing better last mile connectivity from stations like Banaswadi, Byapannahalli and Hebbal.