4 months ago


City metro rail coming of age

-File Photo
-File Photo

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With all the nine stations on Uttara-Agargaon MRT Line-6 now pressed into operation, capital Dhaka's overhead metro communication is veritably a dream come true - though partly. The segment opened on December 29, 2022. The rest of the total 20.1-kilometre line is set to open in December this year. Of late, the metro rail operation witnessed a drastic change in its timing. From May 31, the Uttara-Agargaon route began operating on a new schedule. With a view to making the timing a professional and meaningful one, the trains are now running from 8 to 11 am, and from 3:01 pm to 6 pm, daily except Friday. They will have a 10-minute gap during the peak hours.  In off-peak hours the trains will operate on 15-minute gaps from 11:01 am to 3 pm and 6:01 pm to 8 pm.

In terms of urban mass communication, the full-scale operation of the metro rail in Dhaka is set to prove that the city is fast coming of age. Only a few years ago, the massive project appeared to be a pipedream to many. Lots of people expressed doubt about the viaduct-based railway's future after the corona pandemic struck the country. Finally, it was able to make its way through the adversities caused by the pandemic scare and other negative factors. Both the overhead and underground railways are aimed at alleviating the scourges of traffic gridlock in the busy metropolises. For Dhaka, this perennial problem of traffic chaos at one time emerged as a potential threat to the city's normal activities. Five to six years from now, with the brief commutes between Uttara and Motijheel becoming normal, the ordeals of trips on the similar routes might seem the part of a distant nightmare. In the distant future, the travel time between Uttara and Motijheel by metro rail may come down to mere 20 minutes. At present, the trips by conventional traffic amid tailbacks take over two hours during peak time.

Thanks to the cooperation of the metro stations' ground staff, the Dhaka residents are fast adapting to the metro rail trips. It was heartening to note that unlike seen in the other South Asian cities, the first-time metro travellers had boarded the trains without much effort. It looked as if they had already been seasoned with this transport mode. Meanwhile, Dhaka has started mulling its first underground metro rail. It has been reported in the media that Dhaka Mass Transit Company Ltd (DMTCL) has signed a deal with an 8-company consortium to oversee the construction of the country's first underground metro rail. It is said to be led by a Japanese firm. Work for the line is scheduled to begin soon. The length of the line is slated to be 31 kilometres, running through Airport-Kamalapur and Purbachal.The underground metro rail will be running at a depth of 10 to 30 metres below the ground along most of the 19.87-kilometre route from Dhaka Airport to Kamalapur.

Both elevated and underground metro rail communication in Dhaka is looking to a future not thought of anytime before. The visualisation, agreements with overseas partners and the burst of activity --- everything goes ahead which befits a country focused on all-round development in the communication sector. Bangladesh is credited with completing the challenging task of constructing the Padma Bridge in style. That it will overcome the hurdles lying in the construction of a state-of-the-art network of a metro rail does not need much elaboration.


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