City at a standstill

As Bengaluru woke up to a BMTC strike on Thursday, 28 year old Akshatha M Rao who had arrived in the city with her six month old baby from Mangalore had a hard time finding transport from the Mysore Road Satellite Bus Station. Having arrived by a KSRTC bus , she found that getting a connecting BMTC bus to Koramangala was harder than she had imagined.

“My husband is not in town, but I was confident that I could manage this on my own. Usually, there are shuttles leaving for the Majestic from here (Mysore Road). But today I am stuck and although there are a few autorickshaws around, they are not willing to go to Koramangala. One driver agreed but demanded Rs 350,” she recounted.

There were similar scenes at all major bus stations across the city. While commuters from Mysore and beyond in Karnataka and from Kerala were stranded at the Mysore Road Satellite Bus Station, people from Tamil Nadu were stuck at the Shanthinagar station. Passengers who had arrived on trains in the city, found they had no further transport from the Majestic and Yeshwantpur bus stations.

Venugopal K from Chennai, who had arrived at Shanthinagar Thursday morning, was worried he would miss the important meeting he had come for to Bengaluru. “I have a detailed bus route map but with no buses, I am lost,” he said. The day also saw tempers rising. Mr A.C. Kishandas, who lives in Vijaynagar, had an argument with KSRTC officials when he tried to cancel his ticket to Calicut. “ The KSRTC officers are unwilling to refund my money saying they will arrange another bus,” he said.

School and college students and officer- goers too had a trying time.“I take a BMTC bus from Wilson Garden to Shanthinagar and change to another for KR Puram where my college bus picks me up. But today, I had to walk to Shanthinagar and have still not got a bus. My college is so far that I cannot think of another way of getting to it. It looks like I will have to miss my classes today,” said a student, Shreejith KS. Rahul Sharma, a software engineer, who takes a bus from Jayadeva Flyover every day to ITPL, was left stranded as his company had made no special arrangement. “I have an important call from a major client to attend and so I am looking for a private cab to give me a lift,” he said.

On Thursday, the situation at major bus stations from where inter-state buses operate, was chaotic. In the evening, the situation was under control as at Majestic, Shantinagar, Mysore Road and other important bus stations, KSRTC buses started services under police protection.

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