Untangling the Majestic mess

Untangling the Majestic mess

Untangling the Majestic mess

Untangling the Majestic mess

Commuters in their teeming thousands struggling up and down narrow stairs; senior citizens pulling and pushing heavy luggage on long, unwieldy corridors; strangers to the city wandering without a clue. The city's busiest transport hub, Majestic is a gigantic mess. The ill-planned nerve centre of the railways, the metro and bus services is a poor advertisement for seamless inter-modal connectivity.

Sprawling in its expanse, the KSR City Railway Station is a gigantic crowd-puller. One look at those overcrowded platforms, and you know there is not an inch of space left for more. Its foot over-bridges packed beyond capacity, its escalators too narrow for peak-hour rush, the Station's infrastructure cries for a serious hyper-boost.


Cumbersome transition

But the ordeal begins much before reaching the Station. The Majestic interchange Metro station has emerged as everyone's favourite hop-off point to board either an inter-city train or a KSRTC bus. This is also where people heading to locations not served by the Metro get off to board a BMTC bus. So, the most obvious thing to do should have been to make the transition hassle-free, smooth and quick.

A reality check by a DH team showed just how difficult this transition is. Guided by signboards, a newly built walkway from the Majestic metro station to the old, existing subway across the Gubbi Thotadappa Road is wide enough. But the problem begins thereafter.

Subway chaos

Packed with boisterous vendors and their wares on either side, the old subway is chaotic in every way. Peak-hour can get extremely messy here, with thousands of commuters with heavy luggage jostling for the middle space left by the vendors. The DH team could spot several senior citizens stumbling on the footsteps at the far-end. There are no ramps here.

Two hundred metres away, a formidable challenge awaits the unprepared. On the left flank of the KSR railway station terminal, crowds throng the building housing a lone escalator and stairs leading to the foot-overbridge across 10 platforms. As youngsters take the stairs in haste, the seniors gingerly await their first step on the narrow escalator as the crowds push from behind.

Few, narrow escalators

Once they struggle past this hurdle, the long yet narrow foot over-bridge offers a reprieve. But for the physically challenged, stepping down to the platforms is another tough task. If the DH team wanted any proof, a middle-aged woman struggling with a crutch was testimony enough. The entire station cried for more escalators, more elevators, wider corridors and better signboards.

Now, consider this: What if the walkway from the Majestic metro station led directly to the proposed third entrance of the KSR railway station through a subway across the Gubbi Thotadappa Road? This would have helped train-bound passengers completely bypass the old subway.

As urban mobility analyst Sanjeev Dyamannavar puts it, the connectivity between the railway, metro and bus stations should have been integrated in the Majestic interchange station design itself. If smartly worked out, the passengers could have walked to the rail and bus stations at the same level, without the cumbersome climb up and down stairs.

Low-level linkages

This would have implied subway links to the railway / bus stations from just one level above the East-West purple line platform. There is ample space at the KSR station's third entrance for a subway from the Metro Station to land. "It is a mammoth effort for the weak and elderly to go up and down. You cannot put a cost on it. Spending a few additional crores amounts to nothing when you consider the entire Metro cost is Rs 50,000 crore," Dyamannavar explains.

Dominating the Majestic transport hub, the semi-circular BMTC bus terminal is an example of smart design. But there is a connectivity gap here too. The foot over bridge that links the semi circles should be extended to cross the Dhanvantri Road on one side and Gubbi Thotadappa Road on the railway station side. This, say pedestrian mobility experts, will help those walking from SC Road and Anand Rao Circle towards the Metro / railway stations.

Traffic bottlenecks

Beyond these transport nodes, Majestic is also about the converging roads, its intersections that are often gridlocked due to vehicular overload, and encroached footpaths. Pedestrian comfort and safety is an obvious casualty. A study by the Department of Urban Land Transport (DULT) years ago had recommended footpath upgrades and underpasses to aid free movement.

On traffic, the study had found that the congestion was a day / night affair at all the intersections. In recent years, this has only got worse. That the intersections are located very close to each other does not help either. Both BMTC and KSRTC buses halting in the middle of the roads is another trigger for congestion.

Recommended were separate bus lanes on every road, elevated roads at all intersections, decentralization of the bus station to reduce inflow of buses to Majestic area, separate bus station for private buses and a total revamp of the traffic signal systems.


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