Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Traffic snarls before airport terminals quite taxing

Traffic snarls before airport terminals quite taxing
Deccan Herald

The HAL Airport has over the years emerged as a landmark that shapes Bangalore Standard Time and the traffic pattern in its ever-cluttered neighbourhood. The familiar bumper locks and traffic snarls on the Airport Road are now getting replicated, right in front of the airport terminals. And the bottlenecks are just getting bigger.

“During weekend evenings, the rush becomes too hard to handle. More often than not, people who drive down to see passengers off keep moving around to find parking space, halting traffic movement in front of the terminals,” says Anurag, a financial consultant and a frequent flier.

By 6 pm, traffic in front of the domestic and international terminals shifts modes, from busy to chaotic. The vehicles roll in by the dozens and by the time the passengers and companions step out and unload the baggage – well exceeding the stipulated 90-second alighting time – the driver behind is honking away. “When people carry a lot of luggage, the alighting time gets extended and things get out of control at times,” says a security officer at the airport.Interestingly, even as the race for space is on in front of the terminals, you can spot the stray autorickshaw or car parked right in the middle of the rush. When Deccan Herald visited the airport at around 7 pm, cars were even parked diagonally to the line of vehicles taking shape behind. There were also drivers chatting away on mobile phones, before leisurely, reluctantly making way for the other cars. No security or traffic official was in sight.

Taxi rush

The way out, is no easy way out either. While cab drivers – some of them reaching out for the luggage in an overt display of service – continue to stir a hurried welcome, taxi movement outside the terminals redefines chaos.

On the other side of the rush – during the evening peak hours, when parking space becomes coveted – you can spot drivers taking a nap in cars parked in the lot for long hours.

Meanwhile, it’s road rage of a different kind on the other side, with speeding cabbies honking and gesturing at passengers tagging along baggage on their way out. It’s the Airport Road situation, just extended.


The pre-paid autorickshaw counters at the City Railway Station have helped in doing away with pricey drivers and “double-meter” bargains. Though the drivers are still caught up with the canvassing routine, the passengers don’t seem to mind.

Pre-paid counters could still be a long shot for the HAL Airport, that is already strapped for parking space. However, with traffic snarls, the order of the day and the new international airport in Devanahalli a good two years away, even stop-gap arrangements shouldn’t hurt.


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