Want to tackle Bengaluru’s toughest obstacle course? Try getting to Whitefield Railway Station!

There is only one entrance to the station, even though the south side has a big bus stand used by thousands of people every day.

BENGALURU: Even as Bengaluru’s roads chokes due to the ever-increasing traffic, and when the government should be looking at improving public infrastructure, access to a major railway station like Whitefield still remains a problem.

The suburban railway service in Bengaluru is at a nascent stage, but even then the Whitefield Railway Station is used by thousands every day, for both local and express trains with a total of 35 trains stopping or terminating at the station.

Explaining the ordeal faced by commuters at the Whitefield Railway Station, Sandeep Anirudhan, a regular suburban rail user and an activist, said, “There is only one entrance to the station in the north side, which is far away from the platforms and the overbridge is rickety and narrow.”

He added, “Although there is a big bus stand in the south side, there is no connectivity to it from the station. So commuters are forced to use an overbridge from the bus station, and from there, then they have to walk an additional two kilometres to reach the main entrance.”

But people, in a hurry, are often tempted to jump over the broken walls of the railway compound wall on the south side, make their way through the tracks and stationary goods trains, even if it means putting their lives at risk.

“Both in the morning and the evening, swarms of people, especially women and old people, struggle to jump walls…It’s really inhuman of the Southwestern Railways,” he said.

In late June, a 35-year-old woman had died while crossing the tracks. Her son had a narrow escape.

Sandeep argued that for the ease of public transport users, the authorities should connect the bus depot with the railway station.

“There is ample public land right opposite the south side of the station, and can be acquired to set up a bus stop, auto or taxi stands. This road is easier to access from Whitefield than the north side; hence, feeder buses can ply in circles from the south side station to all of Whitefield,” he added.

Pawan Mulukutla,  Head of Integrated Transport at World Resource Institute, India, Sustainable Cities, is of the opinion that the success of any railway service from a station is dependent on many issues, including accessibility.

“It is not necessary that only having trains at the tracks will mean that people automatically use it.These aspects include information of the service and, if at the station itself there is space allocated for buses, then autos and taxis should also be there. It is important that the space be secure. If these things are not there, people won’t find it convenient,” he said.

“We know there are a lot of spaces which are dark and unsafe, and naturally they will be avoided. These are all the reasons for which some metro stations function well and some of don’t,” he added.

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