The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) has cleared tenders for foot over bridges at six metro stations, but can’t do anything because there is no space.
A train arrives at Yeshwanthpur railway station. A crowd rushes towards Yeshwanthpur metro station. In the middle of the crowd, a girl, about 12 years old is clutching tightly to her mother’s hand while dragging her luggage with the other hand. They take a step on to the road, and quickly retreat when a car whizzes past. They try again after a short while and succeed in running across to the other side.
This is a common scenario at various metro stations especially at peak hours. Commuters feel the need for a foot over bridge as they cross the roads putting themselves in danger. Kritika Kaul, a regular commuter said, “I feel the need of foot over bridges because they save so much time and they are safer. Trying to cross busy roads is very time consuming and dangerous.”
The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited’s (BMRCL) project to construct foot over bridges at six metro stations has not even started yet. The discussion has been going around since 2016 but no construction has taken place.
In Jan 2021, BMRCL had invited bids to construct foot over bridges (FOB) but the tender was scrapped after ten months and a fresh tender was issued. The private company which had been awarded the contract refused the offer because of a hike in steel prices.
It’s not as if the BMRCL is not making an effort. Gubbi Chandrashekar Shivakumar, chief engineer of BMRCL said, “We are struggling to find space and utilities around metro stations for construction.”
The Rs. 12.15 crore contract has been awarded to the Hombale Constructions. An official from the company said, “The tentative dates for the work to begin have not been decided yet.” The foot over bridges are to be constructed in two phases. Constructions at Yeshwantpur, Dasarhalli and Nagasandra metro stations will take place in the first phase. In the second phase, footbridges will be constructed at Mailasandra, Jnanabharthi and Chikkabidarakallu metro stations.
Nagasandra metro station got a footbridge in January 2021 after an incident. The demand arose after a girl died in an accident while crossing the road. But, the commuters are not satisfied with the footbridge. The FOB is not accessible for disabled, older people and women because there are no elevators. People still cross the road because they find it difficult to climb the stairs.
Data shows that about 8,000 passengers exited the Nagasandra metro station every day in 2019. A similar number of people boarded the train in a day. Therefore, a total of 15000 people used the station every day. S. Amarnath, coordinator for information and counseling at the Department for Empowerment of the Differently Abled and Senior Citizens said, “BMRCL needs to do a lot of surveys before constructions because a lot of places are inaccessible especially for visually impaired people.”
Rahul Sokhal, a civil engineer said, “Pedestrians are the most vulnerable group in traffic and accidents. FOBs are important in order to increase the traffic capacity of the roads and in providing uninterrupted routes.” He added, “In metropolitan cities, a mob like situation is created outside metro stations at peak hours because people mostly prefer Metros to travel to their work. The FOBs make sure to avoid any accidents.”