The commute between Bangalore and Mysore is fraught with tension and overcrowding

Gone are the days when the 139-km commute by road or train between Bangalore and Mysore was a pleasant journey through idyllic countryside. Today, it is a stressful experience if not a downright nightmare.

Take the Sirsi Circle-Jnana Bharathi campus stretch: for the road user, it is a hellish obstacle course through debris and barricades erected by at least three civic agencies.

Similarly, Bangalore-bound rail passengers must stand in serpentine queues to buy their tickets, only to find that they may not get a seat on the packed train.

As for those who board at Mandya, Maddur, Channapatna and Ramanagaram, they can forget about even looking for a seat.

Traffic between the two cities has witnessed exponential increase in the last decade. In fact, State Highway 17 — the stretch between Bangalore and Ramanagaram — is today the busiest in Karnataka. The Road Traffic Census 2010 recorded 68,654 passenger car units (PCUs) a day as against 42,530 in 1998.

The average number of daily train passengers between the two cities, which was barely 5,000 in the early 1990s, has now tripled to 14,670. An almost equal number travel daily from Mandya, Maddur, Channapatna, Ramanagaram and Bidadi to Bangalore and back. Tickets to Bangalore accounted for 65 per cent of those issued in Mysore in 2010-2011, Anup Dayanand Sadhu, Senior Divisional Commercial Manager, Mysore Division, told The Hindu.

Little wonder then that all the 19 trains on this route — 12 daily and seven non-daily long distance services — are packed to capacity.

On the bus

At least 864 buses operate from Bangalore every day to Mysore, including to destinations en route.

“Even with a load factor of 75 per cent, about 27,000 people travel on the route every day,” said K.A. Rajkumar, Director (Operations), Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation.

This pertains only to KSRTC figures. There is also a highly competitive private transport sector to cater to the ever-rising need of commuters.

Clearly, the stretch connecting the two cities is today a busy urban corridor, and its decongestion is an urgent requirement if the commute is to be made less stressful.

The fortunes of towns such as Bidadi, Ramanagaram and Channapatna are being increasingly linked to Bangalore, while Mandya is gravitating towards Mysore, which is emerging as a popular investment destination in the State, next only to Bangalore.

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