The year 2011 brought some cheer to Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL) as well as Bangaloreans after the much-awaited metro services commenced on October 20 on Reach 1 between Byappanahalli and Mahatma Gandhi Road stations.
The event marked a milestone in the history of public transport of Bangalore as the first mass rapid transit system made the actual beginning even though it was conceptualised about two decades back. The BMRCL had earlier missed several deadlines before launching the commercial services — December 2010, Ugadi (April 2011) and September 2011.
The former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa's ambition to launch the commercial run remained a dream as he had to step down before the Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety sanctioned opening of the line for general public.
However, State Government's efforts to get Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to launch the services went in vain and it was launched by Union Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath in the presence of Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda.
While BMRCL has been claiming that it was faster than Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd, (DMRCL) in commissioning Reach 1, the reality appears otherwise. The DMRCL had taken about five years to commission its first line which was about 20 km, while BMRCL's first line that was opened for traffic was just 6.7 km.
The entire Phase 1 of Namma Metro (about 42 km) comprising East-West and North-South corridors could be commissioned by 2015 as the underground work — tunnelling as well as construction of stations — is progressing at a snail's pace. While tunnelling on the East-West corridor has commenced, that on the North-South corridor is likely to begin by next June. Construction work on the Majestic underground station is yet to start.
With the depot coming up at Peenya, BMRCL is hopeful of opening the line between Hessarghatta Cross and Swastik for commercial operations by December 2012. However, other two reaches — between Mysore Road Terminal and Magadi Road and between Puttenahalli Cross and K.R. Market — are unlikely to be opened for commercial service till the connecting underground stretches are made operational.