People continue to await for buses at the old bus stop near Syndicate Bank of Light House Hill Road unaware that the bus stop has been shifted to Tagore Park. A poster announcing the change is displayed on the side of the road but is hardly visible as traffic flows. Some commuters manage to get into the buses when they slow down at this point. Others realise that buses do not stop there any longer only much later and have to walk up the road to catch the their buses.
The shift of the bus stop is among the many changes introduced on Hampanakatta junction where a new way of movement of traffic is being tried.
As per the new traffic movement plan, vehicles coming from the K.S. Rao Road cannot go straight to Falnir or take a right turn towards Town Hall. They need to take a left turn, move 100 meters ahead and then take a u-turn opposite reach the Hampankatta Junction. From here, motorists going towards Falnir have to take a free left turn at the Hampankata junction while others will move straight towards Town Hall without waiting for a signal. The junction has been made signal-free.
The change has led to a difficult U-turn for bigger vehicles on Light House Hill. The newly created hair-pin bend near the Jos Alukkas is a challenge for bus drivers. Buses bearing route No.27, 4C, 11B and 3 B coming from State Bank have to take this U-turn. To negotiate the sharp bend, the drivers are forced to come to the extreme left on the Light House Hill Road. But as they move to the left, they see other vehicles meant to go straight zip by from their right.
“We can take this turn only if somebody stops the traffic,” said a driver on route No. 22 that runs as many as 22 trips from the State Bank to Mangaladevi Temple. There are buses every 20 minutes that negotiate this curve. And each time a bus does this, the vehicular movement is hit causing a congestion. Earlier there were four policemen who could manage the situation, now you find ten policemen,” said K. Ashok, an autorickshaw driver.
On the other hand, those going from Falnir to K.S. Rao Road have to take a free left at the Hampankatta junction and then take a U-turn opposite to the administrative block of the Government Wenlock Hospital and come back to Hampankatta junction Road before taking the free left towards K.S. Rao Road.
There are no signboards or indications for the motorists about the new way of traffic movement. As many as nine police personnel, including a police inspector and sub inspector, were posted to regulate the traffic movement and also guide motorists. A police constable said, “If we just move away, there will be a chaos here. For the last three days, it has been a thankless and tireless job.”
Police Commissioner R. Hitendra said the new traffic movement plan at Hampankatta Junction was temporary one. “We will allow this for two weeks and collect feed back from motorists, bus drivers and our personnel. If it is not viable we will not continue it,” he said.