The much-awaited first metro rail in Bangladesh will soon be opened to the public according to the government but most potential passengers will have to wait a bit longer to get its full service as in the first phase it will operate from Uttara's Diabari to Agargaon only.
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 shorten to 16-17 minutes, said the Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited ( DMTCL ) authority, reports UNB.
On December 15, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said the first phase of metro rail from Diabari to Agargaon will be opened to the public on December 28 after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurates it.
Things to know about the first phase
In the first phase, a limited number of trains carrying fewer passengers will operate for a short period in the morning and afternoon and the speed will be slower than usual for three months, as a period to get accustomed, Managing Director (MD) of DMTCL MAN Siddique told UNB.
The trains will wait for a bit longer than usual at the station at first to help passengers become accustomed with the new seating and ticketing system. With the increase in the number of trains the train 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.
DMTCL MD MAN Siddique said "When the first metro rails were launched in different countries across the world, it was not fully operational from the very beginning. It was launched with capacity for limited passengers at first and then got fully operational."
"Likewise, we will launch MRT Line-6 at first for a limited number of passengers," he added.
He said that 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, ten will run regularly and two will be kept on standby for any problem, he added.
Seating arrangements inside metro rail
All the six compartments including the two driver compartments at both ends of a Dhaka metro rail will be air conditioned, said DMTCL.
A train can carry 306 seated passengers, 48 in each driver compartment and 54 in each of the other four.
However initially the trains will carry only 200 to 250 seated passengers each and will increase the number in phases later.
Up to 17,000 passengers can travel daily initially, said DMTCL, and they can easily travel standing in the 9.5 feet wide space between the seats at both sides.
There are two rows of long green seats inside the coach and handles at the top and poles at places for standing passengers to hold in the moving train. One metro rail can carry a maximum upto 2,000 passengers.
The train compartments are constructed in such a way that the floor remains level with the platform while making stops at the station, making it easier for passengers to get on and off the train.
Each compartment will have four doors on both sides and there will be a smart card and ticketing system for fare payment.
Ticketing system and fare
There are two systems for ticketing for passengers who want to travel through 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.
How long before full scale operation?
After inauguration, it will take two or three months more to run Dhaka metro rail carrying passengers on a full scale.
According to 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 Km.
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.
There are a total of nine stations on the Uttara to Agargaon route: Uttara North (Diabari), Uttara Central, Uttara South, Pallabi, Mirpur 11, Mirpur 10, Kazipara, Sheorapara and Agargaon.
There are seven stations on the Agargaon to Motijheel route: Bijoy Sarani, Farmgate, Kaowranbazar, Shahbagh, TSC, Press Club and Motijheel. Also there will be an 1.16 km extension to Kamalapur railway station.