Addressing a major criticism against the proposed underground Cantonment metro station, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL) has decided to build a subway with travelator to link the metro station, which will come up near Bamboo Bazaar, with Cantonment railway suburban station. The distance between the two is around 500 metres.
Ever since BMRCL proposed to build the Dairy Circle to Nagawara underground line, there have been voices against the lack of plans to integrate the metro station with the existing railway station. Initially, BMRCL proposed to build the metro station on an existing parking lot located very close to the railway station. However, citing reasons such as technical non-feasibility, high cost, land issue and others, BMRCL changed the alignment.
As per the new alignment, the Cantonment metro station is around 500 metres away from the railway station, thus drawing flak.
Ajay Seth, MD, BMRCL, said the subway will be done in such a way that passengers will get direct access to the platform of the proposed suburban rail network at Cantonment railway station.
“Connecting the suburban rail station with the metro station is crucial. The Railways is planning to build the proposed suburban rail network behind the existing station. The plan was also discussed with the Railway officials. They have also agreed to put up ticket counters for the benefit of passengers,” he said.
He further said that travelators in the metro network is not new and such infrastructure is already operational in Delhi metro.
Chief PRO of South Western Railway E. Vijaya said as per the DPR, an elevated suburban railway station will come at Cantonment having two platforms like the Namma Metro station.
Although citizen activists have welcomed the plan for a travelator, they remained unconvinced about the location of the metro station.
Srinivas Alavilli of Citizens for Bengaluru that campaigned for integrated cantonment railway and metro stations said they were still at a loss as to why the metro station was being built in Bamboo Bazaar. The only available playground in Bamboo Bazaar, a low income area, is being taken away for this. The location of the metro station causes inconvenience both to commuters and local residents. BMRCL must hold public consultation with local residents before finalising its plans. Lack of public consultation has been a major issue, he said.
“But in this scenario, a subway and travelator is the next best solution probably. Integration is key at Cantonment station as it is also an important suburban rail hub connecting Whitefield and Kempegowda International Airport. We are happy that BMRCL has recognised the need for integration. We demand similar infrastructure at Banashankari, Byappanahalli and Yeshwantpur metro stations,” he said.
Learning from phase I
BMRCL had come under attack earlier too over the issue of integration. It took years to integrate the metro station with the BMTC bus-stand and railway station at Majestic. The underground Majestic metro station was partially opened in April 2016, but it was not integrated with the BMTC bus station. It was only in February 2018 that BMRCL opened a walkway linking KSRTC and BMTC bus-stands.
On the other hand, a foot-over bridge connecting Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna City Railway Station with the city railway metro station opened after three years.
Ajay Seth, MD, BMRCL: “BMRCL has learnt a number things while executing the phase I project. The experience is helping us to do things differently or in a better way now.”
Integrating railway station and TTMC
The Yeshwantpur metro station was opened for commercial operations in March 2014, but both the South Western Railway and BMRCL have not yet integrated it with the railway station. The authorities are now claiming that all hurdles to link the stations have been cleared and the project will be taken up soon.
BMRCL is also proposing to link Yeshwantpur metro station with Yeshwantpur Traffic and Transit Management Centre (TTMC) of the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC).
Mr. Seth said: “The Directorate of Urban Land Transport is studying the feasibility of linking the metro station with Yeshwantpur TTMC. The project also needs permission of the Railways as their land is required.”
The State government, in its budget, had proposed to link metro stations with other TTMCs, which are located close to the already operational metro stations such as Banashankari, Vijayanagar, and Peenya.