'First year laurels will have multiplier effect for Metro'

'First year laurels will have multiplier effect for Metro'

‘Disputes are inevitable, but agreement is possible’ is the motto that drives N Sivasailam, managing director of the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL), who has his task cut out in giving the City a full-fledged Namma Metro.

He lists out parking lots at the Ulsoor and Trinity stations; toilets outside MG Road, SV Road and Baiyappanahalli stations as his immediate priorities, in an interview with Deccan Herald. Excerpts:

Your initial remarks on completion of one year of commercial operations between MG Road and Baiyappanahalli.

We had a very happy and successful first year and we have done this with a young staff new to Metro systems. It gives us immense confidence as we move to operationalise other lines in this phase and begin our preparations for the next. We have demonstrated that it is possible for us to achieve and maintain international standards.

Your take on commuter response and lessons learnt.

We have had occasions when our patrons have been inconvenienced by the rigid norms for entry-exit, since it is not possible to accord great deal of discretion at the security guard level.

In the initial days, there were many requests for toilets and parking lots at stations, but these have died down as the total journey time has come down as initially there were queues, but no longer. We have created parking lots at the Baiyappanahalli and SV Road stations and we will have them at Ulsoor and Trinity stations too.

What are the major changes in the commuting pattern that you have observed?

Metro is a cheap, safe and comfortable mode of travel. As its reach extends, ridership is expected to rise exponentially. In the near future, it is the common ticketing for BMTC and Metro that will ease and speed up travel and improve operational efficiency all around.

Opening of more lines will halt the declining ridership in public transport systems and pave the way for greater investment in public transport systems in five-10 years.
 
How are the Metro stations changing with time?

Metro stations will become hubs for daily essentials and quick servicing. They will become hubs for integration of transport systems. Metro and its neighbourhoods will become local centres for work and business, particularly retail and leisure.

A rough time estimate on commercial operationalisation of Reach 3 (Sampige Road to Peenya).

We are behind scheduled opening by about four months at this stage. This is because we are in the process of getting approval for the construction of the 66-metre bridge over the railway line at Malleswaram only by the end of this month.

We hope to commence the trials in February-March 2013 (up to Yeshwantpur in the first stage) and thereafter up to Srirampuram in the second stage in April-May 2013.  

Hurdles for the project.

It is Namma Metro and it will remain that way. It is inappropriate and insensitive to say that there are ‘hurdles’ in project implementation.

As we have more number of projects, it is equally necessary that we have institutions in society that address the conflicts and confrontations that arise from them. They should be addressed effectively in the spirit of ‘disputes are inevitable, but agreement is possible’.

Technology can also be used to address certain issues as we have demonstrated in the case of the Ambedkar statue. But, it is not a substitute to effective institutions of society to address these conflicts that have their own fallouts in terms of additional time and costs and for which the project must make mid-course corrections and provisions.

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