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BKC needs more public transport

In the first of the series on Bandra-Kurla Complex, mid-day finds that the commercial hub has a dire need for better connectivity by road and rail

While the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) may have developed as a business and commercial hub, the area is wanting in connectivity. Commuters have, for long, been complaining of poor public transport to BKC from the nearest railway stations and bus stops.

Office-goers say few buses ply to the BKC, and autos refuse to ferry them to the nearest stations. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Office-goers say few buses ply to the BKC, and autos refuse to ferry them to the nearest stations. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

BKC has offices of several multinational and Indian banks, financial organisations like National Stock Exchange, hotels, restaurants and some residential buildings as well. The nearest suburban stations are Bandra, Kurla and Sion.

However, office-goers feel there aren’t enough options to reach their workplaces from these stations. BKC isn’t connected by rail directly, and BEST buses are few and far between. Additionally, it is tough to get a cab or auto rickshaw to BKC.

Inception
Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), in 1977, was appointed as the Special Planning Authority (SPA) for the development of BKC. The rationale behind creating such a centre was to get new offices both private and government to shift away from south Mumbai and decongest the linear city.

Work began in 1982-83, but the actual development started only after 1990. Over the years, BKC has become a business hub, with more than 200 offices of government, private companies and even multinational firms.

However, employees of these organisations find transport hard to come by. The few BEST buses that ply on this route are jam-packed during peak hours, and auto rickshaws and taxis refuse fares to the nearest station. There are no traffic cops to take actions against them.

Even if one does make an effort, one has to endure long queues outside Kurla and Bandra stations. Autos charge high amount to ferry passengers on a sharing basis. Many people prefer walking to Bandra (East) station.

The BEST has started two ring route buses Bandra to BKC telephone exchange and Kurla to MMRDA building. These buses charge Rs 10 for a small distance, which commuters feel is more than required.

In 2012, MMRDA had planned to provide 15-20 low-floor buses to BEST. It was prepared to pay the entire cost of the operation – around Rs 4-6 crore – and was also going to ensure the ticket prices would be lesser than BEST.

However, the plan is only on paper and the project is yet to see the light of the day. A senior MMRDA official told this reporter that talks are still on to start the services.

Commercial hub
BKC has offices of national and international banks like ICICI Bank, Dena Bank BNP Paribas, financial institutions like National Stock Exchange, NABARD, Diamond Bourse, SEBI, other public and private companies, restaurants, residential buildings and a fire station.

There are also three schools, a petrol pump and the Asian Heart Hospital. The ‘G’ block has many commercial establishments, luxury hotels such as Trident and Sofitel and a passport office. 7.5 hectares of land has also been set aside for an exhibition and convention centre.

Voices

Sandesh A N, Nabard employee
There is just one bus that plies between my house in Ghatkopar and BKC. It’s a headache to catch it during morning and evening hours. There needs to be more public transport so that people don’t have to wait for long periods for buses.

Anil Kanojia, ICICI Bank employee
I always catch a train from Bandra station to go home. But, getting a bus from (and to) BKC is a hectic task. It is very crowded during morning and evening in the bus. I prefer waiting for a bus where I can, at least, get space to stand.

Mamta Rotkar, works at Capital building
I reside in Chunabhatti, so I prefer changing a bus from Sion. There is just one bus from BKC and that, too, has poor frequency. I walk to Sion. Authorities should’ve planned proper rickshaw and taxi stands to help us reach the nearest station.

Namrata Nadar, works at Capital building
BKC is a good place to work as it is not crowded. But, the only problem is the poor frequency of public transport. Many rickshaw drivers even refuse to take you to the nearest station. There are no traffic cops to take action against them.

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