Riders to be king in new metro land plan

Riders to be king in new metro land plan

Utilities for leaseholders have hit the interests of commuters at several stations. At the Srirampura metro station, a restaurant’s back door blocks an already narrow footpath.

As metro commuters struggle to park their vehicles even as the ground space is rented out to commercial establishments, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) is set to review its property development plan, placing commuters’ convenience above commercial interest.

Commuters who travel by their own vehicles for first- and last-mile connectivity do not find parking space except at the terminal stations as parking facility is limited or unavailable around stations in the middle of the city. Even the stations that attract huge crowds, like Yashwantpur in the north and Lalbagh in the south, lack adequate parking space.

However, the available space at several stations has become a built-up area. At Hosahalli and Srirampura metro stations, the ground-level space has been rented out for restaurants, not something metro commuters need. 

“As a service provider, the corporation should focus on providing parking facilities rather than building up rooms to rent out space for hotels and retail shops,” said Giridhar KN, who has written to officials demanding arrangements.

At the same time, the corporation has made space for retail shops at the concourse level, where seating arrangements could have been made for the benefit of elderly commuters.

“At MG Road metro station, a headphone and speaker shop plays blaring music making it difficult for passengers at the nearby ticket counter to hear the personnel inside,” said Gayantri N.

BMRCL has been developing vacant area at the metro stations as part of the commercial development plan. Rent from these properties forms a major part of the non-fare revenue for the corporation.

Revenue from property development jumped from Rs 11 crore in the financial year 2015-16 to Rs 155 crore in 2016-17, after the entire Purple Line (Byappanahalli-Mysore Road) became operational. The revenue is expected to further increase in 2017-18 with the inauguration of the entire Phase 1 in June last year.

BMRCL Managing Director Ajay Seth said they will review the existing leases and come up with a framework to ensure commercial land development does not infringe on passengers’ safety and convenience.

“It’s a learning curve for us. Besides metro passengers, the framework will also consider the interest of commuters on the nearby service roads and pedestrians walking on the footpath. The existing contracts will be reviewed as and when they come up for renewal,” he said.

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