Bengaluru: A record one-lakh commuters travelled in the air-conditioned metro rail coaches on Sunday -- a day after the service was opened for public -- on the 18.1km east-west corridor, with 4.8km through underground.
"On the first Sunday, after the service was commenced on Saturday, around one-lakh people travelled on the route since morning (6 a.m.) till late night (11 p.m.) on both ways from Baiyappanhalli in the east to Mysuru Road in the west," said a spokesperson of the state-run Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL).
On the first day (Saturday) of the new service, about 93,500 commuters hopped onto the metro on both the routes, boarding at one of the 17 stations, with majority of them alighting at Majestic or MG Road stations and returning to their destinations en-route.
On metro's debut in October 2011, about 85,000 people commuted between MG Road and Baiyappanhalli stations, the first 8km of the 42.3km first phase, including the 24.2km north-south corridor, which is in the final stages of completion.
"About 120 trips were made today (Sunday) as against 115 trips on Saturday, increasing the frequency and reducing waiting time for the next service to eight minutes from 10-15 minutes during the non-peak hours," BMRCL public relations officer U.A. Vasanth Rao said.
Taking a break from oppressive hot and humid weather in the city, several curious commuters, including women and young flocked to their nearest metro stations for a joy ride in the air-conditioned coaches from spick-and-span station.
"I took the metro from MG Road to Majestic with my friends in the evening for a joy ride. Although all the three coaches were crowded, it was fun," said Radhika, 22, a financial analyst with an international audit firm.
As women had to jostle for space to even stand in the packed coaches with male commuters, some of them told IANS that the operator should have a separate coach for women and children to ensure their safety and security.
The actual impact of the belated service, bogged by delays and cost escalation, will be known from Monday to Friday and if the service reduces air pollution and minimises traffic snarls across the city's thoroughfares.