The rocky road home

The rocky road home

The bus passengers cling on to the railings, seats and each other as the vehicle passes Fun World and approaches Mekhri Circle.

The Jayamahal side of Palace Road is an unticketed rollercoaster ride for most commuters, especially for those caught in the peak hours of Bangalore’s traffic.

A while ago, the BBMP decided to widen and asphalt the road from Mekhri Circle till Jayamahal.

But the work halted mid-way and a diversion road was created after the amusement park.

M Lakshminarayana, Commissioner, BBMP said, “We got the consent of the Royal family to widen the road but need clearance from the Supreme Court.The application is right now with the Supreme Court and once we get the nod from them, we will finish the work within three to four months.”

The road is riddled with bumps, potholes, rocks and takes twice the amount of time to travel when compared to a tarred road.

Yet bus drivers insist on taking this unsafe route everyday.

Shekar, a BMTC bus driver, is so used to taking that side of the road that he uses it even when there isn’t any traffic.

He doesn’t notice the other vehicles race by him while he trudges along on the shabby road.     

The backlog near Mekhri Circle is infamous; people spend hours trying to get across this trainwreck of a road.

In order to avoid this congestion, motorists squeeze in through every nook and cranny. “Nobody should be travelling on that road; they are travelling at their own risk,” said Lakshminarayana. But why the road hasn’t been blocked remains a mystery.

But there are some drivers who prefer not to take the kachcha road at all times. Rajesh (name changed) said he speaks for all the drivers because they have the same problem.

“We use that road only when there is lots of traffic. It isn’t safe going on that road and if we go fast, the break will get cut. If the brake gets cut, we will have to pay from our own pocket. But we are made to go there because the passengers insist. They ask us why the other buses are moving and ours isn’t.”

Most passengers would prefer if bus drivers used the main road.

“I have fallen when it is crowded and the bus is moving. It’s hard to travel on that road,” said Pooja, who is a regular commuter on the Mekhri Circle-route.

Others understand the benefit of the route. “Sometimes the bus stops for over 10 minutes because of the traffic. The road is unsafe and the buses don’t usually stop at the bus stop on that road but during peak hours there is no other choice,” said Sukanya. 

While the BBMP remains confident about its assurances, the safety of the people is being compromised with every passing day.

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