Despite recent renovation, much remains to be done to make Bangalore East station passenger friendly. Notwithstanding regular use by the city’s eastern residents, the station, located on Pottery Road, falls short in the basic infrastructure department.
James Wright has been a regular at the Bangalore East Railway Station since the early ‘90s, but the 70-year-old Hennur resident hasn’t seen much change in the station’s conditions over the three decades.
“Hardly anything changed until recently — the station was unusable,” he said, while booking a ticket to Chennai for himself and his wife at the station.
Despite its regular use by the city’s eastern residents, the station, located on Pottery Road, falls short in the basic infrastructure department. Only as recently as 2011, after a renovation, did it get additional booking counters, for instance. Despite the addition, the counters are insufficient: early mornings see heavy crowds, regular commuters said, citing hourlong waits. Toilets are functional, but poorly maintained, with erratic water supply.
Sujata (55) carries two bundles of greens with her across the footbridge every day, to sell in Fraser Town. Her limbs have begun to protest, she says, but there is no other option: on a far end, a single pedestrian footbridge connects the station’s two long platforms.
“Right now, there are no plans for the station,” said Sudhanshu Mani, Divisional Railway Manager of the South Western Railway’s Bangalore Division. He said that while express trains cannot be stopped at the station, passenger trains do halt. “Besides, long-distance trains halt at Krishnarajapuram and Bangalore Cantonment.”
But regular commuters say there is a need for more trains to halt here. “A lot of people from this area travel to Chennai, in particular,” N.S. Ravi, president of the Bharatinagar Residents Forum, said. “We understand the Shatabdi cannot stop. But what about the Brindavan or Lalbagh trains?”
Unlike other stations such as Yeshwantpur or Bangalore Cantonment, the Bangalore East station does not have direct public transport connectivity; train commuters must walk down from the nearest bus-stops — from ITC, Davis Road or Mosque Road.
The station receives a fair amount of footfall, as it is the nearest railway link for people from Banaswadi, Cox Town, Kalyananagar and Jeevanahalli.
Besides, there is hardly any commercial activity on the platforms: till recently, there wasn’t even a single stall on the premises, recalls Mr. Wright.
But most pressing of all, reiterate many regular commuters, is the need for more booking counters. “Some of us with computers can go online and book, but what about the common man?” says Mr. Ravi.