Bengaluru has been going tipsy over the state excise department's recent decision to extend the bar deadline to 1 am on all days of the week.

 

The 11 pm deadline on weekdays which was imposed in 2014 was lifted on Thursday when the excise department sent notifications to bars, pubs and eateries in the city.

 

"We have consulted with the police and arrived at the decision to extend the deadline until further orders. We received a lot of requests for extending the deadline as many professionals work till late in the night. Also, Bengaluru is an international-level city with tourists pouring in every day," said Karnataka state excise commissioner Umashankar SR.

 

He added, "The police commissioner has assured that necessary steps will be taken to ensure the deadline extension will not be a nuisance to the general public."

 

Even as the young guzzlers in the city have been celebrating the extended deadline, what torments them is the limited transport options available in the city during the wee hours.

 

With metro services shutting down at 10 pm and no buses that ply at night, party-goers are left with only two options - autos and cabs. Even then, it's not that easy to get home. Striking an affordable deal with autorickshaw drivers who demand almost triple the actual fare is a gamble all midnight party-lovers have to take. 

 

"I am so glad that the deadline has been extended to 1 am. But one thing that bothers all of us who step out for a drink is returning home after 1 am. Travel options are limited at that time. I have to always bargain with autowallahs and end up paying almost double the one-and-a-half meter charge. It would be convenient to travel if the metro timings were extended too," said 27-year-old media professional Ishaan Bhattacharya.

 

Even with Uber and Ola cabs as an option for late night travellers, the availability of cabs has become tad difficult post-midnight ever since cab companies have scrapped surge pricing. "Autos charge more than the one-and-a-half meter rate and so I prefer cabs. Also, it's a safer option. After the cab companies removed surge price, the availability of cabs at night is low compared to before," said 34-year-old marketing professional Nandita R.

 

She added, "If I'm leaving a pub at 1 am, I book my cab at least 30 minutes in advance as it takes longer for booking a cab now."

 

Bengaluru is slowly easing rules to return to its old "work hard, party harder" avatar. However, the city's transport system is yet to evolve to keep up with the city's growing population.