Namma Bengaluru: Vying to offer last-mile connectivity

Bengaluru, April 20: The term ‘last-mile connectivity’ is often the topic of conversation in any discussion involving Namma Metro. However, in the past, experiments on finding a solution to this have not been successful due to many factors. The biggest reason cited, however, has been the lack of end-to-end connectivity.

This is expected to change in the coming days, with an entire corridor of Namma Metro being thrown open to the public. Realising the importance of the launch, several private and State-owned players are now vying for a slice of the last-mile connectivity pie.

Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation is in talks with the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation to operate 20 buses as feeder services on the Purple Line between Baiyappanahalli and Nayandahalli. “We will be operating eight buses each between ITPL and Baiyappanahalli, and Kengeri and Nayandahalli. Another four buses will operate in routes around the Vijayanagar metro station,” a senior BMTC official said.

Earlier, the feeder buses operated by BMTC did not see much response as there were issues with parking as well as low ridership since the metro stretches were only partly operational. Officials are now hopeful that the demand for feeder buses will increase. “We will take a call based on the ridership. We can increase the number of feeder buses to accommodate all passengers,” the official said.

While Mysuru Road is already served by a large number of schedules, the services from Baiyappanahalli to ITPL will be a boon for commuters. “I travel from Nayandahalli to ITPL every day. It would be great to step out of the metro and board a bus directly to my office. Currently, the time taken is too long by road, and the journey takes me a few hours every day,” says Arvind T., a resident of Mysuru Road.

How about renting a bike?

While feeder buses are the answer to those looking to commute to a fixed place using the metro line, there are several more travellers who need mobility around metro stations, which cannot be served by buses.

Bike hire companies are stepping in to address this class of commuters. A call for applications to operate bike hire services at several metro stations has received an amazing response, according to officials who are convinced that commuters can exit the station and hire a bike instantly to destinations nearby.

“We initially plan on offering around 30 vehicles per station. These will be a mix of electric, motorcycles, bicycles and mopeds. The vehicles can be hired through a kiosk, which will be placed in the station by providing a copy of the user’s driving licence and address proof,” said Anil G., co-founder of Wicked Ride, a bike rental company, which has won the contract for five stations; Baiyapanahalli, Trinity Station, Indiranagar, Sampige Road station and Peenya station.

Eventually, the company is planning to offer an app which can be used to pre-book vehicles. “We are also looking at several drop-off points so that customers can drop the vehicle at their destination if they do not plan on returning to the metro station,” he said.

Wicked Ride is expected to begin services within a month.

Yusuf R., a resident of Mysuru Road, says, “It is a good idea. I usually go to Indiranagar to visit a few restaurants. It would help to have a two-wheeler to roam around, which I can drop off at the station on my way back.”