Convenience derailed by accessibility issues and dismal state of amenities at City station
Much has been written, and sung in our films, about the romance of a train journey. But look long and hard, and you’d still be hard pressed to find much that is pleasurable about the Bangalore City railway station.
Thousands of passengers and at least 100 trains pass through the station every day. But the services and amenities at the station leave a lot to be desired. Passengers told The Hindu here about their experiences with non-functional display and public announcement systems, poor accessibility, dismal hygiene and poorly maintained facilities at the station.
Shirley N., a passenger from Guntur, had a tough time with her injured foot. The ferry cart (a small four-seater vehicle) is offered as a free service to senior citizens and those with disabilities. But, said Ms. Shirley, “The cart driver asked me to pay Rs. 50. So I opted for a wheel chair. The porter demanded Rs. 600 in all for the wheelchair and transporting luggage. We eventually settled for Rs. 400.”
Some passengers asked for lifts to aid senior citizens. The authorities said four escalators would be installed in the next four months.
Lack of information
Passengers on platforms nine and 10 were bewildered by the non-functional public display system monitors. “I am not sure when my train is expected to arrive. I have to ask the police or the porters,” said Lalitha, a resident of Mandya.
Officials said the monitors had been in a state of disrepair for two months. However, Divisional Railway Manager Anil Kumar Agarwal said he had not received any complaint so far regarding the monitors. He promised that new ones would be installed by October-end.
Madhukar complained of filthy platforms and toilets. The Hindu found that taps in the toilets were leaking.
Mr. Madhukar, who says he is a frequent commuter, said of the Basava Express (Bangalore–Bagalkot) that leaves for Yeshwanthpur from the city station at 5 p.m.: “It used to be washed at the Yeshwanthpur station before proceeding to Bagalkot, but now is not cleaned on most days.”
People have to make do with only one cloakroom, which is on platform 1. Passengers said they would have liked more, especially at the other end of the station, on platforms nine and 10, so that they wouldn’t have to lug their belongings all the way.
D.R. Nagaraj, a senior citizen from Shimoga, voiced concern about the seating arrangements on the platforms. “I have been sitting here for an hour as the train doors have not yet been opened. On the platform, the seats are neither sufficient nor comfortable.”