The extended weekend, beginning on a second Saturday and covering two days of Deepavali holidays, triggered an exodus of city residents who packed their bags and headed homeward or holiday destinations on Friday.
Arterial roads witnessed bumper-to-bumper traffic by afternoon as everyone headed towards Bangalore city centre to catch buses and trains.
Kempe Gowda Road, Narasimha Raja Road, Jayachamarajendra Road, Lalbagh Road, Kengal Hanumanthaiya Double Road, Mysore Road, Richmond Road, Queen’s Road, Malleswaram Link Road, Sampige Road, Bellary Road and Okalipuram Main Road were all choked.
Anticipating the rush, the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) had deployed 500 special services in addition to the existing 5,000-odd departures, sources said.
Senior officials stayed put at the Kempe Gowda Bus Station (KBS), Shanthinagar Terminal and the Mysore Road Satellite Terminal to ensure smooth departure of services. Roads around these terminals particularly witnessed huge traffic pileups.
The traffic police found themselves stretched as they struggled to clear the logjam, with Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) M. Abdulla Saleem personally supervising the operations at KBS. Many passengers left home much in advance to beat the gridlock. Sudhir Prasad, who had to drop his mother to KBS for her journey to Kundapura, left his residence in Basaveshwaranagar one-and-a-half hours in advance, compared to the 30 minutes on a normal day.
M.S. Sheshagiri, a resident of Hanumanthanagar, said he had to walk the way towards KBS from Mysore Bank Circle when the vehicle mass failed to move and he was late to board his Belgaum bus. All too familiar with the situation, he said he ensured he travelled light.