Skywalk lift SOS numbers are duds

Elevators at many of the city’s skywalks are non-functional. And if you are stuck in a working lift, pray hard. Not a single emergency number can help you

According to the annual report of the BBMP released this month, all 30 skywalks in Bengaluru are in perfect working condition.

Metrolife did a reality check of six prominent junctions and found non-functional lifts in three, and guards not even in one.

A skywalk costs between Rs 1.9 crore and Rs 4 crore. And all of them were built under the public-private partnership (PPP) model. Most skywalks were completed in 2018-19.

The lift emergency helplines don’t work anywhere. 

Maintenance not our job: BBMP

When Metrolife called the BBMP executive engineer in charge, he said the upkeep of skywalks is the responsibility of the private agencies that had partnered with the civic body. “BBMP has nothing to do with it. We only collect the revenue that comes through advertisements,” he said.

Who maintains skywalks?

The city’s skywalks, built under the PPP model, are designed, built, and operated by outdoor advertising companies that maintain them for 30 years.

After 30 years, the skywalks are to be handed over entirely to the BBMP, according to the agreement. A senior executive engineer with the BBMP tells Metrolife, “The operations and maintenance, the power bills and back-up, salaries of guards, and the cost of repairs are all borne by the private agency.”
The agency, in turn, gets commercial rights to market the advertising space.

Who are the agencies?

Agencies involved in the construction and maintenance of skywalks in Bengaluru:

Pioneer Publicity Corporation, Cartel Outdoor Advertising, Vantage Outdoor Solutions, Rajdeep Buildcon, Prakash Arts, Adonai Shelters. The concessionaire agreement gives them control over the skywalks for 20 to 30 years.

In numbers

The city has 30 skywalks. Fifteen more are coming up.

Works, but few users take this working skywalk

Kasturba Road 

The skywalk, its lifts and lights are in perfect working condition. But none of the emergency numbers, that claim to be active 24/7, work.

The only number that works is the BBMP control room. Also, this was constructed not less than two years ago, but it is not used by many.

The agency that maintains this skywalk is M/s Cartel Outdoor Advertising Pvt Ltd.

People dart across busy road

Raja Ram Mohan Roy Road

Built in 2017 at a cost of about Rs 4 crore, the non-functional lifts force people to dart across the busy road.

Pedestrians say the steps are too steep, and so they run across the road. The lift is to be manned by a guard, but no one was around.

Gowri (59), a resident of S R Nagar, says the lift has never worked. “I always depend on passersby to help me get across the road,” she says.

Savitha Bevuru, IT professional, works near the skywalk and has never been able to make use of the lift.

Sheetal Crasta, techie, wonders why the authorities build skywalks that end up never being used. “It is just a huge structure and looks ugly in the middle of the road,” she says.

Both lifts have conked out

Jayanagar 3rd Block

Built in 2017 at a cost of about Rs 4 crore, it has two lifts, both non-functional. The agency that maintains this skywalk is M/s Prakash Arts.

You find people running across the road. Regular users say the design of the skywalk is poor. “It is too long and you walk much more than if you were to cross the road,” a user said. The fancy telephone installed outside the lift has begun to gather cobwebs.

Preethi B, a journalism student at NMKRV College, has been hit by vehicles three times while trying to cross the road. “I take the stairs because the lifts never work. It is hard as the stairs are steep, but it is better than risking my life,” she says. Kavyashree and Keerthi Kumar, both IT professionals, have never used the skywalk because, the former says, “It has too many twists and turns.”

“This makes it longer for us to cross. We would rather wait for two minutes and cross the road,” adds Kavyashree.

This one, near BBMP office, works 

Corporation Circle

This lift is in perfect working condition and people use the skywalk regularly. But the emergency helpline numbers don’t work at all.

With no guard around, if you are stuck in the lift, you just have to stay there till help comes along, regular users said.

Metrolife tried the five SOS numbers listed. Four didn’t work. The fifth went to the BBMP control room. The man who picked up the call said, “In case you get stuck just keep the phone on and stay there till help arrives.”

The other helplines are duds. Two calls went to former employees of the lift maintenance company and one went to a farmer in Chikkamagaluru.

The good thing is that the lift works and citizens would feel safer with a guard around, and working emergency helplines. The agency that maintains this skywalk is M/s Pioneer Publicity Corporation Pvt Ltd.

Misleading frontage

Majestic

This is likely to be useful for people who want to get from the railway station to the KSRTC and BMTC bus stations. The subway is mostly occupied by vendors and is poorly lit at night.

Sumedha Chandradasa, who works in the tourist industry in Sri Lanka, is on a ten-day vacation in Bengaluru.

“I was trying to use the lift at the skywalk when I realised that it was not open. There is no sign to show it is not functional,” he says. Tourists visiting Bengaluru have a tough time negotiating the roads and understanding that many things just don’t work, he says.

Power cuts leave many users stranded

KG Road 

This connects Mysore Bank (now SBI) to the court complexes across the road. The lifts work but power supply goes off frequently, according to users. The agency that maintains this skywalk is Rajdeep Buildcom.

“There have been instances when a packed lift has stopped working. People have panicked and most helpline numbers don’t work. The maintenance is poor,” says Ramu, the guard. 

Chandrashekar Reddy, advocate, says the lifts help the elderly and those carrying heavy bags.

Divya K, another advocate, who uses the lifts regularly, says, “There have been instances when the lift has gotten stuck. If the lift on one side is working, the one on the other side stops.” 

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)