It took us just 13 breezy minutes to glide 6.7 km of what would otherwise have been a screechy, honky, jammy drive from Bangalore's CBD to the east.
It was dusk and the inside of what's going to be Bangalore's new mascot was cool, bright and dust-free.
Right from the bustling Mahatma Gandhi Road, some 50 of us lucky early birds got to gawk at the cream-silver themed Namma Metro all the way to Bayyappanahalli six halts away. We moved at some 35-40 kph as people below us on the roads must have crawling at 10 kph. [40 kph is an inconceivable speed in the city these days.] That is about a half of what it can do, but that's not in the early days.
When Mr Kamal Nath, Union Minister for Urban Development, formally presses the ‘go' button on October 20 , four trains each of three BEML-made cars will each run 45 trips each day between the two points on an elevated route. Each trip can pack 1,000 people in. This stretch, officials of the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd, told us is one of the densely travelled roads in the overgrown city.
BMRCL was formed in 2006 as a 50:50 special implementing vehicle of the State Government and the Government of India. BMRCL has set aside a Budget of Rs 2.5 crore for the inaugural event, according to its Managing Director, Mr N. Sivasailam, who said nothing was being spared on security for the event or for the running of the Metro.
When completed, hopefully by 2014-15, the Bangalore Metro will totally traverse 42 km across north and south, east and west. The full Namma [our] Metro will cost Rs 8,158 crore for phase I raised as equity and debt. Compensation to land losers alone amounts to over Rs 1,400 crore.
This is classless, said senior Indian Railways officials, who have opted to be with Bangalore Metro - technically superior than the Delhi metro or even Dubai.
Until Saturday, at least 1,000 smart cards were sold at the counters. The final test is how much will namma metro unclog Bangalore's roads.