Just a handful of people wait for the 4 p.m. passenger train at the quaint Byappanahalli Railway Station, while hundreds queue up at the leviathan metro station a few metres away.
So, would these train passengers switch to the metro for travel within the city? D. Krishnappa, a daily wage worker bound for the City Railway Station, asked: “Who will pay so much to travel so little on the metro? Even when the Majestic Metro Station comes up, it will be too expensive for us.”
Costing just Rs. 2 from any station between City Railway Station to K.R Puram, passenger trains and express trains on this line provide quick, convenient and cheap transportation for those informed about this mode of travel.
Srinivas Kumar, a Byappanahalli resident who works in a small shop in Majestic, said the train is his best option. “It takes only around 30 minutes. Compared to Rs. 12 by bus, this costs only Rs. 2.”
“Over 200 office-goers, college students, and labourers take the three trains between 5.30 p.m. and 6.30 p.m. from the Byappanahalli Station,” said a booking officer. Namma Metro would not affect the numbers drastically as train travellers are daily wage workers who cannot afford the metro's pricey tickets. But schoolteacher D. Nataraj, a train commuter for over 15 years now, said he would readily switch over to the metro once the Majestic Station is commissioned. “The ticket is reasonable and the frequency is much better.”
The Station Managers at Bangalore Cantonment and Byappanahalli concede that the number of commuters on this line is not impressive. This is because not many know about these passenger trains.
“I got to know from a colleague,” said software engineer Satyanarayan, who has been commuting on the passenger train for over a year now.
He added that this cut his travel time from his office in Whitefield to the City Railway Station by half, compared to the bus.
The journey to Cantonment Railway Station takes just 10 minutes. Connectivity is obviously a problem but there are many buses to M.G. Road. A bigger problem is frequency. As for the cost, it's priceless!