Life on Bengaluru's Namma Metro

Life on Bengaluru's Namma Metro

Illustration: Prakash S

Travelling in private cars or on two-wheelers has become a tiresome task in Bengaluru. And Namma Metro has come as a boon for those, including this author, to escape the drudgery of driving back after a tiring day at work.

The Metro is a great way to get around in Bengaluru. But it can be a tough ride at peak hours in jam-packed coaches, with commuters getting squeezed and subjected to a lot of jostling. This is one of the negative sides of a Metro ride. But, it is not all bad news. There is an ample number of people amusing fellow passengers with their antics and thus providing comic relief during a trying journey.

Silly antics I have witnessed can be stress busters, but some dangerous things people do make me wonder if they just don’t care about their or fellow passengers’ safety.

Wrong platform
Deciphering the signage to enter the right platform can be a tough task for those who are not regulars on the Metro. But it does no harm to ask the Metro staff about the right platform. This author saw a recent incident when a young couple barged onto a platform, but saw their train entering the station on the other side. “Oh s@!&” went the gentleman before commencing the long trudge to the right side.

Eager for entry
Everyone is clearly told to give way to alighting passengers. Along comes a guy who firmly believes he is within his rights to enter before others can exit. Sure, all of us would like to get into the car quickly. But his exuberance in trying to get in surely made other passengers and me wonder what he is going to gain out of doing this. He is clearly inconveniencing others. The bloke fell into line only after getting a mouthful from the security staff.

No entry
It seems like all common sense can fail at times. Standing in a long queue to enter is boring no doubt. Wondering why the rush on that day, passengers had to sulk and bear it. There was one lady who decided to do something about it – trying to enter through the exit gate. Much to the amusement of the passengers in the queue, she repeatedly tried to swipe her card despite a red ‘X’ on the display indicating no entry. Better sense prevailed after a few failed attempts and passengers in the queue had a bit of entertainment.

In your face
Travelling during peak hours can be uncomfortable no doubt. But it can get embarrassing too as passengers are stuffed like sardines in a can. I, just like other passengers, find it rather annoying when my face is just a few centimetres away from another person’s. What makes things worse is realising that one can’t even turn away. Even if one manages to wriggle in another direction, there is every chance of another ‘in your face’ encounter.

No network
Watching videos on YouTube or listening to music is a great way to kill time on the Metro. The odd passenger can get frustrated if the data transfer stops in the underground sections. What is amusing is the fact that the hardcore movie and music lovers don’t want any pause to their ‘entertaining’ journey. Funnily, they don’t give up and try to refresh the page, press play/ pause more than a few times. No avail, theirs is an agonising wait till the train emerges from the underground section.

Door confusion
Again, occasional Metro travellers have a tough time figuring out which side the doors will open where they need to get off. Which side the doors will open is announced well in advance. There are a few who are in a different world and pay no attention to the announcement. The result is a heroic effort to get through the maze of people. The more aggressive ones manage it. For a few, it is a return journey back to the right station.

Use deodorant please

Illustration: Prakash S

Namma Metro cars are air-conditioned and travelling is a ‘cool’ experience. No question about pollution or dust, but one has to put up with another problem – smelly passengers. The last thing one would want is a smelly fellow passenger as a neighbour. If it was the Mumbai trains, the breeze would take away some of the odour. But, in the Metro, one has to just tolerate it. The thought of telling the ‘offending’ person to use deodorant unfortunately can only remain a thought.

Escalator charge
Not seen Carl Lewis and Marion Jones in action? The Metro could provide you with a glimpse of their extraordinary speed. The announcement says the train is about to pull into the station. That is the trigger for a quick sprint up the escalator to catch the train, but that success is only after pushing and shoving a few people up the escalator.

It is understandable that people are in a hurry to get to their destination as quickly as possible. However, it is important to spare a thought for fellow passengers. It might be funny at times, but some of these antics could lead to a serious accident. A dozen alighting passengers could knock a person down because they are in a hurry to get off too before the train leaves.

Namma Metro has framed rules for a safe and a comfortable journey. It is best that commuters follow them even if it means a little less entertainment on the journey back home from work.

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