Wary pedestrians shun subway at Shivajinagar

Wary pedestrians shun subway at Shivajinagar

Illicit activities and a lack of safety have rendered the pedestrian subway behind the Shivajinagar bus terminal nearly unusable and deserted.

Constructed by the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Coporation (BMTC) in 2011 as part of a Rs eight crore-project, the subway was initially opened to great enthusiasm. Once commonly used by pedestrians, numbers have since declined. Shopkeepers and hawkers who do business nearby blame anti-social elements for the problems.

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Ravi, a hawker, said beggars and thugs have driven people away. “When it was inaugurated, large numbers of people used the passage. Gradually it became a meeting point for many beggars and goons. People stopped coming. Women, especially, are reluctant to enter the subway. Today, only about 15-20 people pass through it every day,” he said.

The tunnel has four entrances and exit points — Shivajinagar bus stop, Meenakshi Koil Street, Bowring Hospital and Russell Market. The points make it easy for commuters to reach the subway or bus stations outside, without having to cross the busy roads.
According to vendors, the subway is opened at 6 am and closed at 8 pm. A CCTV camera has also been installed by the Shivajinagar traffic police. Large display boards offer helpful hints and directions to commuters. Maintenance workers clean the subway at regular intervals. In spite of this, commuters don’t use them. Kshama Raj, a regular commuter to the Shivajinagar bus terminal, said she has never entered the passageway. “It looks abandoned and I am sure it is pretty risky to go in alone,” she said.

“If there is a large crowd going, then I wouldn’t mind using it. But I have not seen any women entering it, so I prefer staying away.” 

A BMTC official claimed that stringent measures are always taken to keep miscreants away from BMTC property.

“Every day, traffic inspectors and a few police officials from the Commercial Street police station (Law and Order) conduct inspections. Also, CCTV cameras make the task of policing easy and effective. Sweepers regularly clean and maintain the passageways,” he said and blamed the impatience of the public for the decline in use.

“One reason behind the empty look is the impatience of the people and their urgency to catch buses on the road. They are too lazy to walk inside and all the way to the exits,” he said.

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