Bangalore Metro Phase-II will be bigger, better: BMRCL Chief

Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) managing director Pradeep Singh Kharola said Phase II of Namma Metro will be twice the size of Phase I in terms of stations and facilities like parking, feeder services and bus bays.

Bangalore: Pradeep Kharola was speaking at the launch of Station Access and Mobility Program (STAMP) on Thursday. STAMP is focused on making Bengaluru a commuter- and pedestrian-friendly city.

Kharola said Bengaluru has not become a transit-oriented city. “May be in 40 years from now, it will become one. BMRCL is working on becoming the backbone of public transport in the city. We can run Metro trains only through designated routes. Other transport modalities should integrate with the Metro,” Kharola said, adding that Phase II will address all issues encountered in Phase I.

“The major problem is land acquisition. But as Phase II is running through the developing ‘new’ Bengaluru, land acquisition will not be much of a challenge,” he added.

Citing a recent survey, Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) MD Ekroop Kaur said that at least 50% of Metro users depend on feeder buses. “We are providing feeder bus services to the Metro after studying demands. However, we suffer from infrastructural challenges like parking space for buses at Metro stations. When 500 to 600 Metro users alight, there should be adequate number of buses to accommodate them,” she pointed out. “We are also working on seamless integration between Metro stations and bus stations in the way of foot-over-bridges or subways for Metro users to access bus stations. We are also planning to introduce smaller buses.”

Civic evangelist V Ravichandar, who moderated the discussion, enumerated issues faced by commuters and pedestrians. The issues and solutions discussed ranged from BMTC feeder service to the Metro, requirement of seamless integration between Metro stations and bus stations, shared mobility, infrastructural deficits, and encouragement of ecofriendly transport modalities like cycling and use of electric vehicles.

With a strong lobby for improving transport facilities on North Bengaluru corridors like the steel flyover or talk of Metro connectivity to the International airport, west Bengalureans feel that they are left out. During the STAMP event, Toyota Mobility Foundation entered into an agreement with World Resources Institute to seek possible solutions in first- and last-mile connectivity to Metro transit in Bengaluru.

Gaurav Gupta, commissioner, industries, pointed out that transport modalities to the industrial corridors in and around Bidadi with over 300 companies, have connectivity issues with the city as a large number of staff from these companies are residents of Bengaluru and they commute to and fro regularly. “If this issue is not addressed, there will be unbearable public outcry in future,” Gupta said.