Even though the full utility of the Namma Metro is expected to be realised only after the entire project becomes operational, an exercise to assess the popularity of the two existing Metro lines in the city saw the Byappanahalli–M.G. Road line emerging more sought after by the travelling public during its first month of operation than the recently inaugurated Peenya Industry–Sampige Road stretch.
While an average of 40,907 people commuted on the Byappanahalli-MG Road line (Reach 1) every day, 24,605 people have used Peenya Industry-Sampige Road stretch (Reach 3 and 3a), which is longer by around 4 km, during their respective first month of commencement of operations. However, the present ridership on Reach 1 has dropped to an average of 15,775 per day in March 2014.
After opening of the line on March 1 this year, 7.62 lakh people used the Peenya Industry line till the month-end realising revenue of Rs. 1.5 crore. On the other hand, 12.68 lakh people had used the M.G. Road line in October 2011 adding Rs. 2.06 crore to Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd.’s (BMRCL) purse, according to the corporation.
Ease in commuting
Passengers who were commuting between Peenya and Sampige Road said more people would probably take the metro once connectivity till Majestic is complete. Sunil Kumar, a businessmen who travels from Rajajinagar to M.G.Road everyday said, “I take the metro between Rajajinagar and Sampige Road and then take either an auto or bus from Sampige Road. Opening of this line has only helped me in commuting half the distance. Once the line is connected to Majestic it would be more useful.”
Asked why the metro Reach 1 was more popular than reach 3 and 3 a, he said, “M.G. Road is a commercial hub and the line even though is a small distance has won many regular travellers.”
Elaborating further, M. N. Sreehari, advisor to the Government on Transportation, said the socio-economic status of people living near Reach 1 and Reach 3 and 3a, was different. “People along the K.R. Puram, Indiranagar side are able to afford to pay for the metro, whereas the same is not the case in Peenya Industry stretch as it is mainly an industrial area.” Many commuters preferred the bus as BMTC offers subsidised passes and covers more distance.
He also said bus connectivity between Peenya and Majestic was better compared to Reach 1, as a result of which more people preferred commuting by bus.
The BMRCL authorities say Reach 1 was more popular as it was the first time the metro came to the city and many people were “excited” about travelling in the metro. They said it was too early to compare the ridership and revenue between the two stretches.
B.L. Yashavanth Chavan, general manager (Operations), BMRCL, said analysing ridership could be done once the entire Phase 1 was completed. He also said the PeenyaSampige Road stretch was opened in March, which was a lean period being exam season, and hoped business would pick up soon.
He also said an internal survey conducted for Reach 1 in August 2013 showed people were aware of the smart cards but they had said the benefits of travel in metro would be more when the full phase was completed.