Hundreds of Bangaloreans Thursday evening hopped onto the sleek air-conditioned coaches of the Metro rail for a joy ride and get a bird’s eye view of the tech hub as the service was opened to commuters for the first time.
Even an hour before the scheduled start of the service at 4 p.m. after its formal inaugural-run earlier in the day, about 200-300 commuters, mostly youth, queued up at the ticket counters outside the six stations between M.G. Road in downtown and Baiyappannahalli in the eastern suburb to be among the first to board the train on both directions.
“Instead of taking an autorickshaw to M G Road, I decided to take the Metro. It feels great to travel on the first day of the service. It was fast, smooth, comfortable and noiseless. I reached the destination in 10 minutes paying just Rs.10 in contrast to 25-30 minutes an autorickshaw would have taken at Rs.60,” a beaming M. Radhika, a homemaker, told IANS. It took about 30 mins by car to reach Baiyappannahalli from MG Road. Metro took only 12 mins to reach same distance as per the scheduled time, which is very rare in Bangalore. Hope this will reduce the traffic congestion in Bangalore when it is fully implemented in 2014.
The hype built up in the run-up to the Metro inauguration and wide publicity in the electronic and print media about the launch date had made the Metro the talk of the town though its Reach-1 covers only 6.7 km towards the eastern suburb from the city centre.
“I was curious to see the swanky stations and get a feel of riding in the Metro as I have been reading about it and seeing on the news channels. When a couple of classmates decided to board the Metro, I too joined them and took a ride from M.G. Road to Indiranagar,” S Dayanand, a 17-year-old pre-university course (PUC) student, said.
“It was fun and a great experience to commute so fast and above the city though high-rise buildings flanking the double tracks were distracting. Shanties and slums around Halasuru station were an eyesore,” said the student.
As sun set and the illuminated stations stood out shining in all glory, more and more commuters took the elevators to reach the raised platforms for their turn to hop onto the Metro.
Earlier, Union Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi termed the unveiling of the Metro service as a ‘Deepavali’ gift to Bangaloreans, who put up with hardships during the prolonged project construction which ruined roads and footpaths and disturbed the serene atmosphere of many areas.
“Deepavali has come very early to Bangalore, rather a week before the festival of lights. Today (Thursday) is Deepavali for Bangaloreans,” he said at the inagural event.
Many evening shoppers and outsiders, including a few tourists who were in the central business district, also took the Metro for fun. It is the first of its kind service in south India.
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