Bengaluru Suburban Train passengers rue lack of Bus connectivity

BENGALURU: Patronage for the Hoodi Halt railway station has soared now. The fully renovated station witnesses more than 3,000 footfalls per day with the IT crowd, domestic workers and daily wage workers making good use of it. However, the lack of bus connectivity from outside the station is proving a huge dampener for hundreds more who could use the station. Many who alight here are now using app-based cabs to reach their workplaces.

Located between K R Puram and Whitefield railway stations, employees heading to ITPL form a huge chunk of passengers. The railway station has been provided platforms, shelters, booking counters and other amenities after local MP P C Mohan contributed `2.75 crore from his MPLAD funds and had a grand inauguration on September 29, 2016.

In all, 27 trains stop at this station daily. However, it is sheer chaos, particularly in the mornings, whenever a train arrives with hundreds pouring out of the station. While some companies ferry their staff in their own buses that stop outside the station, a private bus runs at 8 am in the morning and there is a mad scramble to hop on to it.

BMTC buses can be boarded only about half a kilometre away on the ITPL Main Road. A top BMTC official ruled out running any BMTC buses from the station. “The road is just 15 feet wide. We have gone to the place, surveyed the roads fully and have decided it was not possible to run services from the vicinity of the station. There are no decent approach roads for us to run buses.”

The narrow road is already choked during peak morning and evening hours and if buses are run, then most of the road would be blocked, he added. “The Railways or the BBMP needs to do something and widen the roads leading to the station. Only if this is done, will it be possible to run buses.”

Meanwhile, cab aggregators are having a field day as the IT crowd is particularly keen on reaching office on time. An IT professional in a top firm said, “The cabs demand anywhere between `100 and `150 per trip to reach the ITPL area. This is really too much. To handle them, we have formed eight WhatsApp groups of passengers alighting at Hoodi,” he said.

The moment we reach the station, members of groups meet together and go in groups to tackle the extortion by the cabbies. “If four of us share the amount, it will not pinch us much,” he pointed out. However, he hastens to add that BMTC has to take the intiative to provide buses outside the station.

Pratap Kumar Das, an IT professional, pointed out that if a private bus can run its service, the BMTC too could do it. “Even if we walk up to the ITPL main road, the buses coming from all parts of the City are jampacked and we struggle to even stand inside the buses,” he states. “Perhaps, running of buses which start only from the bus stop on main road to ITPL at least could be done,” he suggested.