Last week I had been to Bangalore to attend a seminar, which lasted 2 days. I was scheduled to leave on the evening of the 3rd day. That day, I got a chance to experience the recently started Bangalore Metro railway service. This Metro, christened as ‘Namma Metro’, is a JV between the Government of India and Government of Karnataka. More info on the service can be found here.
My friend and I had to meet a friend at Baiyapanahalli, which is the last stop of 1 of the two Metro lines. We boarded the metro from M.G. Road and reached the destination. There were 8 stations in between. There, our friend conveniently gave us kalti (left us hanging in the lurch) & apologized saying he wouldn’t be able to meet us. So we took the next train from Baiyapanahalli and came back to M.G. Road.
The experience was awesome. The stations are really cool and clean. They’re well covered and have a 1st world country feel; well, so do the trains. All the stations arrive on the left side only, which saves passengers the trouble of wondering which side the station will arrive on. Passengers were not many, since it’s been just 2 months since the service has started. The doors open in unison, stay open for about 20 seconds and then the train leaves. The initial movement of the train does give a slight jerk and those unprepared might be thrown off balance, but that’s fine. Each door is manned (also womanned) on each station by a guard. The stations are relatively close to each other. It feels good to see yourself tower over the city and bypass daily city traffic. The toughened plastic glass windows allow you to have a good perspective of the city. There is not a lot visible; just buildings, and roads sometimes. But gardens etc. are barely visible as the walls on either side of the tracks are a little high too.
The journey felt great. It was the best train journey of my life; albeit the collective time taken for the journey to and fro was about half an hour. I felt like a kid again; excited and smiling all the time. What’s also commendable is how well the Metro system is planned. Tickets are circular plastic coupons which we have to deposit in the machine while exiting. Those tickets will be reprogrammed and used by other travellers, which ensures zero wastage. Plus, there is no way one can skip a ticket machine, as all the other exits are sealed. I felt proud to see this service in our country and I applaud all the partners who have got it working. I hope the service, whenever it starts in Mumbai, is just as good as in Bangalore, if not better. All you people should try it once, even if just for thrills. Below is a very simple video, I shot showing snippets of the station and the train. I don't know what happened to the voice; guess we'll have to make do without it.