The Bengaluru Metro rail operator on Friday doubled coaches to six from three to ferry more commuters on the east-west Purple Line.
Amid fanfare, the six-coach swanky service was flagged off by Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy in the presence of Union Urban Development Minister Hardeep Singh Puri at Baiyappanahalli station in the east to Mysuru Road station in the west via Kempegowda station in the city centre.
Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Bengaluru Development G. Parameshwara, Chief Secretary Ratna Prabha, city mayor R. Sampath Raj and Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) Managing Director Mahendra Jain along with Kumaraswamy and Puri took a ride on the six-coach train after it was flagged off 40 minutes behind schedule.
The three additional coaches, manufactured by the state-run Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML), were added to one of the metro trains on the east-west purple line, with the first coach reserved for women and children.
The additional cars were added seven years after the service was launched in October 2011 and a year after the former President Pranab Mukherjee opened the entire 43km phase-1 of the metro network, including the north-south green line.
Incidentally, the foundation stone for the metro project was laid by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2006, when Kumaraswamy was the Chief Minister.
The three cars were handed over by BEML to BMRCL in February this year, after which it took nearly four months for them to be integrated with the metro trains and tested.
The metro service, which opened to the public in June 2017 after several deadlines were missed, has not eased the traffic congestion on the city's arterial roads as it covers a mere 43 km of the 800 km city with ever-expanding suburbs.
Currently, at least four lakh people use the Bengaluru metro each day for commute on its north-south green line and east-west purple line, the latter being the busier route among the two.
The addition of metro coaches aims at easing the peak hour rush.
By June 2019, the BMRCL aims for all the 50 metro trains running on the two lines to have six coaches instead of three.
With the addition of three coaches to each of the city's 50 metro trains, the number of passengers to ride the metro each day is expected to double to about eight lakh.