West to East and back

Well, as mentioned in the year-end post, the company moved to Mahadevapura. Now, as far as maps go, Bangalore is pretty evenly developed along each direction. There is the centre of the city and the multiple directions from there with major roads leading in each direction. Encircling all is the Outer Ring Road. From the North-West to the South-East, there’s also the NICE road running parallel to the ORR, almost defining the outer border in these places.

Given this, where I live is exactly to the West of the City Centre. A horizontal line from the centre, which is Hudson Circle, to the West will pass over my area. The same line if it is drawn to the East will pass 2-3 Kms South of my new office. You get the idea, I guess. I have to commute from the West of the city to the East and then right back. And stay pretty close to the ORR in each case.

Commute directions
Commute directions

Given the nature of the commute and that I had to rediscover a whole new set of buses, I set out in the morning to take the old 333T Volvo right from 0.75Km from my house. I got in at 7:50 AM and it cut through Vijaynagar and then Tollgate, then Sujatha to get to Khoday’s Circle. I almost applauded when the bus ditched Majestic, refusing to go in, climbing up the Seshadri Road flyover and heading to Nripathunga road and then Kasturba road, before plunging into the Residency Road traffic. It headed off to the old Airport and was at the gate of the Leela Palace at 9 AM. 24 Kms, in just over an hour. Bravo!

And soon it met Suranjan Das Road and tried to get past. 15-20 minutes at that point. The whole of the old airport road is one long stretch with the walls of the old Airport on one side and HAL on the other. Theoretically there should be no traffic. In reality, every gap in the median sees a lot of traffic from areas like Vignananagar, etc trying to cut through to get to the other side. The mother of all this is at Marathahalli near all those factory outlets, where every vehicle that wants to cross the road has to take a U-turn. The curious part about Marathahalli Bridge and the ORR under it is that there are no right turns to get from ORR onto the old Airport Road and vice versa. You have to do U-turns one way or the other. This means there’s a long jam on all 4 directions, on the bridge as well as on ORR under the bridge! I eventually reached Marathalli bridge at 9:35. 35 minutes from the Leela Palace for a distance of only 6 Kms!

Then it was a walk down the ramp to the bus stop and I took the first 500D I saw to get to my office and another 0.7Km walk later, was at the building at 10 AM. Given that I left home at 7:35, this was about 2.5 Hours!

The return was even worse. The first day, I waited for the 333T to take me home. Just that it never turned up after even an hour of waiting. When I reached home, the total commute had taken me close to 4 hours! I had to take a bus to Majestic and an auto from there.

The second day I decided to go to Majestic and wait there. I asked the conductor in the morning, what time the bus turn up in the evening. “Timings yenu illa” she said. Not sure how the whole system runs! I ended up at Majestic at 5:35 and waited for the bus 238T which is what 333T “becomes” at Majestic. I waited till 6:15 PM amidst reassurances from the BMTC officer at the bus stop and the guy manning the Nandini kiosk at the platform. At 6:15, after realising that the bus had maybe skipped the stop, I took a 61A Volvo to Chandra Layout and hitched a usual bus from there to reach at 7:15 PM. Not bad eh?

The next time I ditched the whole route and went back to the old Banashankari Route. A 5-15 minute wait at Banahankari gets me a 500K which takes me home by 7:15 PM if I leave at 4:30 PM. Of this 2:45 Hours, 30-45 minutes are actually spent waiting in the signal multiple times to cross Silk Board junction.

And finally:

On one of the bus journeys I ran into a colleague from a different team. Being forced to do conversation instead of burying myself into Kp Thejaswi’s ಪರಿಸರದ ಕಥೆ, I found out that there’s an IT guy who travels from Rajajinagar to work by train. I promptly pinged the IT guy and a few days later found myself at the City Railway Station, buying a Ticket to KR Puram for Rs. 5. The day was pretty much Murphy’s own with none of the displays in the station working. He had told me that a train that leaves at 8:30 AM goes to KR Puram and the next one would be at 8:45 AM. Since I was there by 8:20, I tried to see which one would leave at 8:30. There was only one headed to Kolar, but the engine driver whom I asked said that it doesn’t go to KR Puram. I checked the train number on the railway app on the phone and found that it goes only till Byappanahalli before turning North towards Channasandra.

So the 8:45 AM train was what I found myself in. The surprising thing was that the train was full of people headed to software companies in the ORR or Whitefield belt having ditched the clogged up roads. The train left on the dot at 8:45 and reached KR Puram at 9:15 AM. The bus took 5-10 minutes from there to the office and I was at the office at 9:30 AM. The interesting part is that I can take a later bus at 8 AM and reach work by 9:30 AM, almost bringing my commute down to 1:30 to 1:40 hours from 2:30 hours. Not bad eh?

The reverse direction still needs improvement. The best train from KR Puram is at 6:05 PM reaching the City at 7:00 PM. And another 45 minutes from there to get home. I’d need to leave work at 5:30 PM which still makes it a good 2:15 hours if things go alright. Another option is to take another train from Byappanahalli at 5:30 PM and reach the City at 6:00 PM. From there, get home by 45 minutes, which would give me a commute time of around 2 hours as I’d need to leave office at 4:45 PM to get to Byappanahalli I believe. If I can get there in 30 minutes, that should be great. Needs to be explored.

But the best thing about trains is that if I need to pee urgently I can just go to the toilet in the coach. And another thing is that there are live updates on the railway app on the phone. So if the train from Byappanahalli is delayed, I can know well in advance. For the morning journey too, if the 8:45 is missed, there’s an express train that leaves at 9:00 AM which gets there at 9:20 AM. This might be a better option, as then I can take the 8:15 bus, leaving home at 8:05 AM and reach work by 9:35 AM.

All this is a stop-gap for the metro East-West line to get functional. When that gets operational, the commute can be reduced to just 1:15 minutes each way! Here’s hoping they get going on that soon! (Yeah, I can see the snigger from some people here.)

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5 thoughts on “West to East and back

  1. Some lines like Yelahanka KR Puram could be used for Commuter rail. It is an underutilized line. The line between SBC and Cantonment and SBC and Binnypet is most congested. The Ramanagara MEMU should be extended in two directions
    (1) One towards Chikkabanavara
    (2) One towards Yelahanka/ Whitefield

    If the authorities use their brains we could effectively run Commuter rail. SBC and YPR should be used as pass through stations. Trains should begin and end at KGI, GBN, RMGM and WFD. Every second station could become a terminal with a railway coach, which has engines on both sides.

    Metro has become a joke. It is more likea toy train and people amuse themselves on weekends through joy rides on this half baked system.

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