May 11, 2021 is set to emerge as a red-letter day in the annals of Dhaka's transport network history. It will be no overstatement to call the test run of the much-awaited metro rail historic. Given the technical juggernaut that involves the full operation of this mode of communication, completing a test run is a small step. But it is eventually going to emerge as a giant leap for the Dhaka mega city. By around 2024, the capital's residents are expected to start commuting between Uttara and Motijheel on a 20.10-km metro track. Instead of the present two to two-and-half hours, the commutewill take around 40 minutes, touching 16 stations. The trips are expected to carry 60,000 passengers per hour; and a total of 480,000 commuters a day.
The massive project, the Mass Rapid Transit-6 (MRT-6) began rolling out on the day with a short-distance movement at Uttara'sDiabari metro rail depot. The 'trip' of the six-coach train saw it move out of the workshop and enter the yard at a slow speed. Later it came to a halt to demonstrate its automatic door-opening, and allow the curious guests to board a carriage. The electricity-powered train's test run ceremony was attended, among others, by high government officials, project engineers, the Japanese ambassador to Bangladesh, the JICA chief representative, the DMTCL managing director and the MRT-6 project director. Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader joined the ceremony virtually. The elation of the engineers, the project implementers and the others is understood. Unlike the metro rail projects elsewhere, the one in Dhaka will finally see a highly populated metropolis getting rid of its greatest commuting woe - traffic gridlock. Vehicles can hardly move in this city with hundreds of them stuck in the roads from morning to midnight. It's this hurdle which has veritably stood in the way of the city's all-round progress.
The completion of the elevated metro rail project is expected to expedite the mobility and advancement of the city - in effect that of the whole country. In the present age, nations and cities cannot expect to join the global march of development without unhindered speed. In spite of the dislocations created by the frequent changes in infrastructural setups along the metro route, the project didn't fail to gain the required speed. It was fast approaching its completion deadline of December 2021. Had not the Covid-19 pandemic debilitated the nation, the Dhaka residents would have been watching the concludingworks of the metro route and preparing to board the trains at this year-end. As part of the latest developments, the metro authorities look forward to completing the grand project ahead of the 2024 reset deadline.
In the meantime, several operation-related installations and tests need to be completed. Since the arrival of the first batch of rail coaches, various performance tests have been carried out. Those include 'receiving' inspections, functional tests of the train at the depot location. The performance test of the trains on the viaduct (the elevated and pillar-based railway track) has been learnt to be carried out by next August.According to DMTCL (Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited) sources, the metro depot has now 16-km rail track on which the first set of a finished train will trial-run.The critical trial runs and tests point to the authorities' eagerness to launch a foolproof metro network in Dhaka. A little delayed start is better than one which is filled with glitches.