For Prashanth Kumar, a regular metro commuter from Baiyappanahalli to M.G. Road, making his way in and out of the metro stations is a challenge. The reason: the entire stretch around the entry and exit gates of the stations, especially during peak hours, sees massive traffic snarls as buses, autorickshaws and cabs are parked there.
“This happens every day outside the Baiyappanahalli station because the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) has not allocated any designated space for them,” he said.
He said there is land right next to the metro station, which could be used as a bus stand and drop-off point for autos and cabs.
This is not a one-off case. In addition to the long-pending problem of last-mile connectivity, areas around the entry and exit points of Namma Metro stations on busy roads, as well as those that see maximum footfall, see traffic bottlenecks as the roads are narrowed by buses, autos, and cabs.
Multiple metro stations face the same issue. Dasarahalli, in north Bengaluru, is another example. Gowtham Naik, a regular commuter, says, “The buses go on the service road. However, private vehicles, like cars and two-wheelers, as well as cabs and autos, that come to drop off people, leave the roads congested.”
The metro authorities and traffic police have made provision for buses, autos, and cabs to pick up and drop off passengers at a few metro stations like S.V. Road, M.G. Road, Nagasandra, Deepanjalinagar, and Mysuru Road stations. But most of the other stations do not have enough space for these vehicles.
Roshini S., a commuter from Indiranagar, said, “Despite the station being on the stretch that was opened first, the authorities failed to make provisions for autos and cabs, leading to heavy traffic on the road opposite to the Indiranagar metro station. There is no regulation to manage traffic, and though residents in the area raised this issue almost seven years ago, nothing was done to resolve it.”
In 2016, members of various residents’ welfare associations of Indiranagar approached the C.V. Raman Nagar MLA, S. Raghu, regarding the auto stand causing congestion opposite the metro station, but nothing has changed.
Traffic police said there were now many complaints against illegal parking near the entry and exit points of stations. “Despite there being a designated parking area, many commuters park their vehicles on the roads in front of the metro station, which leads to traffic snarls. We have been telling passengers not to park their vehicles on the roads since that will block the way for buses, but no one cares,” a traffic police official from Dasarahalli said.
In Kengeri also, there is a similar problem, according to the traffic police. “Most of the buses towards Mysuru go from here. Also, passengers from the metro get down here to travel by public transport. However, the road is narrow, and autos and cabs are parked, resulting in the road getting jammed. Illegal parking adds to the problem,” a traffic police official from Kengeri said.
As the cabs and autos create traffic jams near the metro station, the traffic police have been working to make the traffic flow easy, say traffic police officials.
“We have been warning motorists who block the entry and exit points and roads leading to metro stations. Apart from this, we have also put up “no parking” boards in front of the metro stations so that private vehicles will not park on the metro roads. We have also penalised such vehicle owners who park in front of metro stations,” a senior police official said.
“The traffic police said that the first preference will be given to public transport like BMTC buses. Autos and cabs will not be allowed to occupy the space earmarked for buses. Strict action will be taken against violators,” an official added.
Designated pick-up point
Most commuters of the metro want the authorities to provide designated pick-up and drop-off points around stations. “The cause of traffic congestion near the metro station is due to unregulated parking by private and public transport. A designated place for pick-up and drop-off, similar to the one at Kempegowda International Airport, would be great,” said Impana Murthy, a metro commuter at Indiranagar.
Hima Shankar added that if more people shift to public transport for the last-mile connectivity, it will help a lot in resolving the problem.
Those who use public transport cited different problems. Jayanthi, who gets off at the Cubbon Park metro station’s HAL exit and boards the BMTC feeder service to Vasanthnagar, said the bus, MF-8, was forced to move from right outside the station to a few metres away, and said autorickshaws are back in front of the station. “Shouldn’t public transport be given priority?” she asked.
The bus crew said as auto drivers park in front of the metro station, leading to arguments, they are forced to stop a little ahead.
Better coordination needed
At a time when BMRCL is working on expanding its network by building more stations across the city, only coordination among the authorities can solve such issues, say activists.
Speaking to The Hindu, Srinivas Alavilli, a citizen activist and Fellow at WRI India, said, “The success of the metro depends on the success of buses, autos and cabs. So we need to access the stations in terms of last-mile connectivity and take the necessary steps to make it an end-to-end pleasant experience for the commuters.”
“There needs to be better thinking by the authorities on multi-model integration in front of the metro station, and each station’s needs may be different on this; hence the authorities have to stress the need for multi-model integration, which should solve the last-mile connectivity issues,” he added.
Meanwhile, BMRCL officials said that they would take the matter up with the traffic police and other concerned authorities to facilitate better parking facilities for multi-mode transport systems near metro stations.
“Apart from coordination between departments to solve such traffic issues in front of the metro stations, autos and cabs should be disciplined so that there are no traffic snarls,” a senior BMRCL official said.
As for the issue of buses not being allowed to stop in front of the stations, a BMRCL official said they would take up the matter with the BMTC so that the bus can use the space in front of the station.
(With inputs from Sangeetha Kestur and Aditya P.)