Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Road to BIAL

I had a chance to visit the new International Airport at Bangalore thrice in the first two weeks of its operation. I found the airport is a huge improvement on the old HAL...quite spacious, good facilities, clean, sleek construction, free wifi internet inside the terminal, better directions and information for passengers, larger parking and drop-off areas, sheltered walkways.




Perhaps everyone would agree to BIAL being better than HAL on the above parameters (apart from a select few who heard somebody say BIAL is not large enough to handle the aiport traffic and they decide that the airport is not up to the mark). Most of the Bangaloreans, however, are worried about the airport being outside the city.

I don't find that as a negative. The airport is outside the city but the traffic is definitely reduced on the old airport road. Many junctions on the roads connecting the new airport have been made signal-free, and that has lessened the average man's day-to-day travel time. It used to take me 40-55 minutes to travel 13 kms to work everyday, and now it takes 25-40 minutes even at the peak hour. Also, you travel to the airport four to six, maybe ten, twenty times a year, but you travel to work around 250 times a year--the time you spend everyday on Bangalore roads has been reduced to quite an extent.

The highway leading to the airport, once you reach Hebbal flyover, is eight-laned. You have proper lights on roads and reflectors on lane markings, barriers on sides. The good road surface coupled with the great Bangalore climate makes it quite a drive. I was surprised to see people overtaking me when I was cruising at 120 kmph, above which my modest Alto wouldn't accelerate me to. The airport is at an exact distance of 30 kms from my home at Mattikere, and I took a little less than 25 minutes to travel that distance, averaging 72 kmph. Not bad. The HAL is 21 km from my place, and I could never reach there in less than 35 minutes, and that too at 3 in the morning. There are humps at the few (four if I remember correctly) signals on the highway though, which are due to the villages on the way. Eliminate the signals by means of underpasses and flyovers and I bet you could average out 100 with a faster car.

The high-tech Vayu Vajra buses are real nice and comfortable, and you simply cannot dismiss it as a common man's mode of transport.

The best option that was supposed to be available, but I could not find when I travelled from Delhi and landed at BIAL on its third day, was the rent-a-car service. I had my own car the other two times, but driving an Innova, Corolla, or Endeavour on those roads can be real exciting!

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

SO late in the night..:)..
Ravi

Cuckoo said...

Another view on BIAL. Most of the time, I am reading about it being not so user-friendly. :)

Cuckoo

ashes said...

Ravi:

:) Yeah dude, I have turned into an out and out nocturnal. However, I could not have named this Yet another late-night post. :)

ashes said...

Cuckoo:

Well, people have the general habit to complain and crib. There would definitely be minor niggles and glitches in such a huge facility. It is new for the airport authorities and the ground staff too. Let us be a bit forgiving and let them adjust. BIAL is no doubt much better than HAL, but people expected more--they wanted perfection.

roli said...

Really its a very huge and well planned airport. The way to airport makes me remember of Delhi roads, smooth and hardly any signals from my place to airport. When I was going to the airport I was amazed to see the enough space pm b'lore. The driving lovers will surely love driving on these roads. The parking area is also very spacious.

The airport from inside, also have enough space, there are a few branded shops opened where you can shop if you have forgotten something important or else if you reached airport before time or if your flight is delayed :P

Also, have the bus facility, good and comfortable, directly from airport to some common places. A rent-a-car was also suppose to be started, I am not sure if it has been started or not, which adds a plus point to the BIAL.

Shailendra said...

Nice pics....
Every bliss has it's side effects...
So is the case with BIAL..

Slowly ppl will get used to it..
Although the extra charge for boarding from BIAL is ridiculous .

ashes said...

Roli:

Thanks for putting in your views, even though they very much echo mine. But that always happens, right sweetie?

I hope they have the rent-a-car the next time you visit Bangalore, and I'll drive you home in a Corolla (or maybe a CRV) and not an Alto. :)

ashes said...

Shailendra:

Thanks for liking the pics. Yes, people will get used to it.

And yes, I almost forgot the UDF thing...that is a bit too much to ask for.

Anonymous said...

People who complain that they also need HAL airport are those who have bought big houses/villas and stay in the neighbourhood on the HAL airport. I stay in Malleswaram and probably travel by air as much as (if not more than) the people who are bent upon keeping the HAL airport open).

On numerous occasions I have been held up in traffic on way to the HAL airport. For me (like many others who live in North Bangalore) going to the Devanahalli airport will make life a lot easier.

I suggest that all those who complain take a ride to the new international airport one of these weekends and see the quality of size of the roads that have are in use today.

Devanahalli airport is the way to go. Go BIAL.

KT said...

I haven't been to BIAL, but this is what i can think of:

In my view most of the Bangalore crowd are "migrant" crowd like me who travel home on an average 2-3 times a year. Now people will have to plan 5-6 hours in advance for catching a flight. Although as u rightly put it I would be forgiving on this.

BIAL experience rating will also be decided by flight experiences people have. This certainly is not going to be better with better airports. Flights will still be delayed and now people stranded in airports 35 Km away from the city. Again with such experiences if you charge 600-1100 Rs as user development fee, it still compounds ur woes.

As a normal user I would be tempted to think, airlines are increasing fares, now BIAL is so far from city that I have to pay atleast 110 Rs (for Vajra and 600-800 for taxis) to come here then pay development fee and now I am stranded here.

I think in coming times connectivity will be a major issue for BIAL. As of now Vajra buses ply even late in the night but nothing less than a metro can ease connectivity woes.

ashes said...

Anonymous:

I completely agree with you fella. I know there would be many more like us. And I bet the number of people benefited from BIAL would be more than the number of people cribbing.

ashes said...

KT:

Yes, a large population of Bangalore who uses the airport is migrant crowd. But 5-6 hours is an exaggeration. You'll have to add 1.5, maybe 2 extra hours.

Flight experiences are irrelevant of airports; the UDF is an extra burden I agree, and with the new revised airfares, you'll actually have to shell out much more from your pockets.

Let us hope we get the metro within the proposed time, even though that is quite some years, and you might not even stay in Bangalore till then.

Amiya Shrivastava said...

I have been always craving to see the new road to BIAL since I talked with you regarding the same. You made my dream come true.

Your post is vivid and I could easily imagine the speed as I was reading the post and when my speed broke with those 4 speed breakers..I got peeved to the core.

ashes said...

Amiya:

Why don't you make a trip to Bangalore to see your dream come true? ;)

Yeah man, the speed breakers are too much of a nuisance.

Anadi Misra said...

yaar, I stopped receiving notifications for your blog...Or perhaps they are being delivered to the bulk mail folder on yahoo (I get over 300 a day so I empty them without looking)...Aaj socha ki chalo check karein....so I found these...

Anywayz,liked your opinion on BIAL...esp. the positive attitude...people tend to criticize too much, abhi 2-3 saal mein sab bhool jaayenge...road bhi ban jaayegi udhar ki...India needs to go high-tech in terms of infra and this is a positive step in that direction.

ashes said...

Anadi:

I see that your less-used yahoo account (not the 1120 one) is subscribed to my blog notifications. Subscribe your gmail account, that's not a good reason, but gmail and blogger are both by google :)

Yes dude, this is indeed a positive step...abhi 3-4 saal mein Metro aa jaayegi Bangalore mein aur hulia badal jaayega yahan ke infrastructure ka....

Violet (on Email) said...

Maine socha ki khud bhi airport dekh aoon, phir comment karoongi :)

Lekin yaar traffic me mujhe koi fayda nahi hua hai.. I had thought ki it will reduce but it dint..

Infact sirf us side rehne walo ko hi kuch fayda hoga, baki sabke liye to distance ki fight hai hi.. pehle centre me tha, sabko accessible.. ab ek end me le jaakar bana diya hai.

ashes said...

Violet:

Well, airport pehle bhi end mein tha, ab ek doosre end mein hai.

And it is a case of glass half-fl-half-empty. Another way of putting it would be that only people who lived close to that end are affected.

And yes, you should have visited the airport. You would have had something else to comment to.

Post a Comment

  ©Template by Dicas Blogger.

TOPO