Traffic piled up on the streets, and the demand for autorickshaws shot up after closing of the popular Namma Metro Purple Line between Indiranagar and M.G. Road on Saturday.
While the chaos at the stations was lesser when compared to Friday night, which was the first day of the shutdown, traffic snarls at stations persisted on Saturday, displaying the importance of the metro line in the Central Business District.
Metro authorities had closed the line from Friday night until Sunday to repair a ‘honeycomb formation’ (concrete distress) in a pillar adjacent to Trinity station.
“It is too difficult to travel without metro as Bengaluru has a lot of traffic. I travel by metro on a regular basis, but now I have to commute by bus or car, which takes more time,” said Ravi Swamy, a software engineer, who travels from Indiranagar station.
Other commuters have adjusted their timings to beat the traffic.
Manoj M S, a tax officer who commutes from Kasturi Nagar to Cubbon Park, said he had to start from home an hour early to reach his office on time.
Pramita Prasad, 24, an IT professional, left her office on M.G. Road nearly an hour early to beat the traffic. “But I can’t do this every day. I hope everything will be fixed from the next working day,” she said.
There were some rude shocks for those who relied on the feeder bus. The buses were packed, and as traffic piled up near stations, commute time took far longer.
Autorickshaw drivers made the most of the void left by metro.
Mohan Kumar, an auto driver, said, “I had more customers than usual. People are confused as to what bus to take. As a result, they prefer autorickshaws.”
Ramesh Kumar, another autorickshaw driver, also saw a drastic increase in the number of customers on Saturday.
However, this only aggravated the traffic snarls as more autorickshaws made a beeline to metro stations.
Balaji Sanyasi, who travels from Indiranagar to Majestic, said, “Traffic is more than usual because of buses, and because people are spilling out on to the streets in search of buses. It is difficult to move out of metro stations.”
Metro officials are expecting to complete the repair work by Sunday evening and resume services on Monday.