The metro stations between Whitefield and K.R. Pura turned into picnic spots on Sunday (March 26) as commercial operations began on the new stretch of the Purple Line, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 25. Although the crowd was sparse during the morning hours, as the day went by, the number of passengers began to increase.
On day 1, the stretch between K.R. Pura and Whitefield recorded a ridership of 16,319 till 6 p.m.
Being a weekend, most of the commuters were there for the “metro experience”, while some others wanted to find out how long it would take to travel to their workplaces in Whitefield. Many of them whipped out their phones to take selfies and videos inside the trains as well as near the name boards at stations.
“We do not regularly commute by metro, but now that there is an opportunity, we would like to make use of it. It would help us get to the city centre and enable us to explore newer restaurants and malls on the other side of the town,” said Manasa, a nursing student who was taking a ride with her friends from the Whitefield metro station.
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However, commuters remarked that their major concern was the missing link between Baiyyappanahalli and K.R. Pura stations. “I am here today with my family only to show my children what the metro is. But its utility will be felt only when we get direct connectivity to Baiyyappanahalli and hence, to Majestic,” said Veera Sundar, a resident of Udaya Nagar near K.R. Pura.
Despite concerns, the most exciting thing about the new stretch is the time they could save by not being on the road. Several commuters said the travel time to other parts of the city would be cut down by 50% because of the new stretch of Purple Line.
“Currently, it takes us around 1.5 to 2 hours to reach the city centre, say M.G. Road, by car. Once the stretch finds connectivity with Baiyyappanahalli, I think it would take me just 40-45 minutes to reach M.G. Road,” said Ram Chandran, a resident of Whitefield who was taking a metro ride on Sunday.
As more IT workers and daily commuters will start using the services from Monday onwards, the ridership is expected to steadily increase.
Auto drivers demand extra money
Many commuters said that the autorickshaw drivers were demanding exorbitant amounts for the short distance of around 4 kilometres between K.R. Pura and Baiyappanahalli.
“On online auto hiring apps, the price was just ₹50 between the two stations, whereas auto drivers were demanding ₹120-150 for the same distance. Even for a share auto, they were demanding ₹50-60 per passenger,” said Prakruthi J., a commuter at Baiyyappanahalli metro station.
“I stay near K.R. Pura, and I travel at least 30-40 minutes every day (one way) to ITPL, where I work. Today (Sunday), I have come to check if I will save any time by taking the metro every day henceforth. ”Praveen KumarPassenger at K.R. Pura
“I travel towards Marathalli every day, and reaching K.R. Pura from my residence in Varthur usually takes around 50 minutes to an hour. The metro will now cut down that travel time by half.”Shruthi LokapurCommuter at Whitefield
“On the first day, I am here with my family just to check out the new stations. But the real utility of this line can only be felt when Baiyyappanahalli and K.R. Pura are connected, and thereby we get a direct connection to Majestic. As a frequent traveller to Tamil Nadu, I would make full use of the metro once the Silk Board station is ready. ”Veera SundarResident of Udaya Nagar