Every time a metro shuttles between Byappanahalli and Mahatma Gandhi Road stations, behind it is the effort of at least 500 people, from the operational control centre chief to the housekeeping attendant, working in unison. While customer relations managers and ticket counter operators are among the visible face of Namma Metro, there are the invisible hands which slog to see that the train traverses on the track without any hitch. They include train operators (loco pilots)–cum–station controllers, maintenance staff, engineers, control room staff and coach cleaning staff.
Most BMRCL personnel on the operations side are just out of college, and have a diploma or industrial training. Almost all of them are from the State.
There are at least 85 train operators-cum-station controllers, 50 section and junior engineers, about 85 maintenance staff and 30 customer relations managers besides managerial/senior staff. Outsourced workers look after housekeeping (60 personnel), coach cleaning (20), security (300) and ticket counter operations (50). About 300 personnel from the Bangalore City Police provide external security cover.
BMRCL spokesperson B.L. Yeshvanth Chavan told The Hindu that the train operators underwent a six-month rigorous training, off-track as well as on-track, at the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd., (DMRCL), before their actual induction into BMRCL. A metro loco was similar to a regular loco engine with the added advantage of hi-tech control facilities. A loco pilot has to be attentive while driving and check whether every passenger has boarded before closing the doors at each station.
On what happens if a loco pilot exceeds the speed limit, Mr. Chavan said the pilot would get a pre-recorded warning from the system. If the pilot continues to drive recklessly, the computer takes over the control of the train bringing it to automatic driving mode, he explained.