Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated country’s first ever metro rail service
Shining BD Desk || Shining BD
The country’s commuting system entered a new era on Wednesday as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the first ever metro rail service in the capital.
She inaugurated the operation of the first phase of the project-- Uttara to Agargaon--at 11:00 am from Uttara sector-15 playground.
Marking the occasion, the Prime Minister also unveiled a commemorative stamp and a banknote.
As the government is starting the operation on a limited scale, it will take 20 minutes to travel the 11.73-Km distance from Uttara to Agargaon, but soon it will come down to 16-17 minutes.
Bangladesh is the third country in South Asian region to have metro rail after India and Pakistan. India introduced its first 3.4km underground metro rail in Kolkata in 1984 while Pakistan launched its mostly-elevated metro line in Lahore in October 2020.
In the first phase, a limited number of trains carrying fewer passengers will operate for a short period in the morning and in the afternoon, and the speed will be slower than usual for three months, as a period to get accustomed.
The trains will wait for a bit longer than usual at the station to help passengers become accustomed with the new seating and ticketing system. With the increase in the number of trains they will wait for less time at stations cutting the travel time.
In the beginning, the train will not stop at all stations. The train will leave the Uttara station and stop at Pallabi, and then it will go to Agargaon without stopping. Stopping of trains at intermediate stations will start later.
Initially the train will carry 200 to 250 passengers and later 700 to 800 passengers.
Of the 12 trains that have been kept ready for operating from Uttara to Agargaon, 10 will run regularly and two will be kept on standby for any problem.
Ticketing system and fare
There are two systems for ticketing for passengers who want to travel by metro rail in Dhaka: automated and manual.
In the automated system passengers can get their tickets by themselves, but one passenger will be allowed to get a maximum of five tickets at a time.
Besides, those who find the automated system confusing can get their tickets manually following the traditional system of buying tickets from counter paying cash.
All passengers will have to enter through the gate using a smart pass card after getting a ticket and will be able to use escalators to go to the platform on the third floor.
The minimum fare for Dhaka metro rail was fixed at Tk 20 and the maximum fare for travelling from Uttara to Motijheel at Tk 100.
In the first phase, the fare from Uttara station to Agargaon station will be Tk 60. The fare from Uttara (North) to Uttara (Central) and Uttara-South Station will be Tk 20.
Besides, from the first station Uttara North to Pallabi and Mirpur-11 stations, the fare will be Tk 30, the fare till Mirpur 10 and Kazipara stations will be Tk 40 and till Shewrapara station it will be Tk 50.
According to Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL), the rail operation till Motijheel may start by the end of 2024, and Kamalapur by 2025. By December 2024, metro rail will start operation from Agargaon to Kamalapur route with 24 trains.
As the train will run at the speed of 100km per hour it will take 38 to 40 minutes to reach Kamalapur from Agargaon crossing--a distance of 21.16 Kilometres.
The Metrorail project was taken up in 2012 and a loan agreement in this regard was signed with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), a Japanese development cooperation agency, the following year.
The main construction work of the project started in 2017.
PM’s younger sister Sheikh Rehana, Highways and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader and DNCC Mayor Atiqul Islam was present among others.