The much-anticipated rapid transport service in the form of overhead electric railway service popularly known as metro-rail has started operating from Uttara to Motijheel via Agargaon, bringing relief in city life amid the nightmare transport system in the capital as the dwellers will be able to enjoy an advanced, fast and safe transport from now on.
Following the inauguration of the Mass Rapid Transport (MRT) Line-6's Agargaon-Motijheel section by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday afternoon, the service went into operation for commuters from this morning.
It needs only 32 minutes to reach Motijheel from Uttara North station with current 10-minute interval and stoppages at 12 stations out of total 16 including Uttara North, Uttara Centre, Uttara South, Pallabi, Mirpur 11, Mirpur 10, Kazipara, Shewrapara, Agargaon, Farmgate, Secretariat and Motijheel, according to authorities.
Four other stations - Bijoy Sarani, Karwan Bazar, Shahbagh and Dhaka University - will be opened by December, said Road Transport and Highways Division Secretary A B M Amin Ullah Nuri.
"We are very much excited as we are enjoying this environment-friendly and fast rail service on this very fast day. Earlier, I needed nearly 2 to 3 hours to reach my destination. Today, I will be in Motijheel area in just half an hour," Kamal Ahmed, a private service holder residing in Uttara, told this BSS correspondent inside a train as he was going office from Uttara North station.
He said it was like a dream to them to reach his office in Motijheel from Uttara in just half an hour as he said even it needed one hour if the roads remained nearly empty during Eid vacations when maximum people leave the capital for their village homes.
"Now it is like dreams come true for us as we got the opportunity to have such an advanced and environment friendly safe transport," Ahmed added.
Trishna Roy, a 40-year-old banker and resident of Kazipara area, said earlier they had to suffer for the construction work of the metro-rail project but now they are the most blessed citizens to have such a safe rail service.
"Due to safety issues, I used to go my office in Karwan Bazar area by rickshaw or CNG-run auto rickshaw. But it is very costly. Metro-rail offers a new hope as now we will be able to reach the destitution within just 10 minutes which was beyond our imagination once," she said.
Sajjad Hossain, a private service holder and resident of Mirpur-10, said he had to face a great deal of hassle due to city's traffic congestion to reach his office situated near Dainik Bangla intersection from his residence but metro-rail service up to Motijheel is very helpful for him to reach his office quickly and safely.
He demanded extending the operation of metro-rail up to evening as soon as possible as currently the service is from only 7.30am to 11.30am.
"Now we can only go office by metro-rail but cannot get this service while returning home. So, the authorities should extend the operation time soon," Hossain said.
Anindita Bose, a first year honors student of Dhaka University and resident of Mirpur area, said traffic jam has great impact on their mental health as she got tired due to traffic jam to reach her university to attend classes every day and it puts impacts on his study as well.
"Earlier I needed on an average 2 hours to attend my classes at Curzon Hall of the university but from now I will be able to reach within 15 minutes. It is really a magical mode of communication to safely and quickly reach my destination," she said.
Long-wait of Dhaka dwellers especially those in Mirpur and Motijheel areas for opening of the metro-rail's 8.72km Agargaon-Motijheel part came to an end as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formally opened the second phase of the 20.1 km MRT Line-6 on Saturday.
Talking to BSS, Road Transport and Highways Division Secretary A B M Amin Ullah Nuri said all stations of the MRT line-6 will be opened by December and the time of service will also be extended in phases in quickest possible time though initially the metro will run from 7.30am to 11.30am on the Uttara-Motijheel route.
Interval of trains will be reduced up to three minutes once the service starts operating in full fledge, he added.
He urged the Dhaka dwellers to collect rapid pass from designated stations and booths of banks as early as possible to avoid long queue at stations to collect single passes.
Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL) Managing Director MAN Siddique said each train can run at a speed of 100 to 110 km with 2,300 passengers. However, the speed will be lower in areas with bends, he added.
The metro rail will be able to carry 60,000 passengers per hour and half a million passengers per day and one train will arrive at each station every four minutes.
On Saturday, the premier also inaugurated the construction work of MRT Line-5 (Northern route), which will be a 20-km line from Hemayetpur to Bhatara via Gabtoli, Mirpur-10, Gulshan. The deadline for the Taka 41,239 crore project is 2028.
Earlier, on December 28 last year, the Prime Minister inaugurated the first phase of the country's first ever metro rail service from Uttara to Agargaon part.
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has been constructing the metro rail and providing soft loan to the project. The JICA gave Taka 19,500 crore for the project.
After assuming power in 2009, the Awami League government took various initiatives to reduce the pressure on the capital.