Monday, June 30, 2008

Metro impacts biz on MG road

Metro impacts biz on MG road

S ome things just get better with age… the wine in your cabinet, your favourite pair of denims and your granddad’s snowy white mop of hair. The list could go on, but one thing you can never expect to see in it is blueprints of the Metro Rail.

Work on this dazzling bit of infrastructure, that promises to take Bengaluru to new heights, started in 2006.

The M.G. Road boulevard was torn down much to the dismay of environmentalists and citizens of Bengaluru, to make way for Phase One of Namma Metro from Byappanahalli to Chinnaswamy Cricket Stadium. It’s 2008, and still no sign of anything concrete.

The structure is expected to be thrown open to the public in 2009.

Till then businesses on one of Bengaluru’s most prominent roads will have to face gloomy weather. “We have seen a 50 per cent drop in our business. It is mainly because people who are approaching M.G. Road from Trinity Circle spend close to 45 minutes waiting in traffic. They lose their patience eventually, look for the closest side lane and return,” complains Tony Leong, proprietor of a popular salon on M.G. Road.

Even the restaurants in the area have seen a dip in their business.

A spokesperson from Ebony laments, “Finding parking has become a huge problem for our customers. And the traffic jams are a major source of headache.

Earlier, we had regulars who would even drive 15 to 20 kilometres for a meal with us. We have lost out on most of them.

And how can they be blamed.” A.

Govardhan of Bangalore Ham shop adds, “There is no entry for autos from Anil Kumble Circle towards Cauvery. Most of my customers complain about this.” But life has to go on. And a true businessman knows how to adjust his sails to the wind, or manage to stay afloat despite the lack of it.

Those running businesses on M.G. Road have adapted to the inconvenience and losses that the construction work on the Metro has spelt for them, in ways of their own. Some have got ready for beginnings at other locations.

“Most of our clients have started shopping in Jayanagar or Malleswaram since M.G. Road is tough to access. Our business has gone down by about 40 per cent.

We will be opening another outlet at Magrath Road now,” says Ganesh Bhaskar, supervisor, Nalli. He hopes that the new showroom will help make up for the losses from the M.G. Road out let.

Some have got ready to pack their bags and move to greener pastures.

“We have not been able to break even ever since we started. We have decided to shift to our beauty salon to Indiranagar where most of our loyal customers are based,” says Leong.

And some others are trying to make life a little easier for their customers by improving facilities such as parking. Ebony has taken the effort to extend its basement parking area for the convenience of its customers. Even Tiger Bay, that has had a reputation for being an expen sive restaurant, has resorted to adaptive measures in the hope of bringing customers back. “We introduced a lunch buffet, priced at Rs 125 per head minus taxes, around two months ago. This has increased our customer base inspite of the problems from the Metro,” says Pradip Saha, manager and corporate chef, Tiger Bay.

“The frequency of the Metro trains will be every four minutes initially. This would increase to three minutes by 2021,” promises the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited website. The other benefits of Metro Rail include decrease in road accidents, pollution levels, fuel consumption, and commute time. Ah joy! Hopefully it will all go as planned for the sake of citizens, and so that businesses in and around the stretch can see happy days again.


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