Dhaka Metro Rail: Bangladesh Enters A Milestone Era
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Through the Dhaka Metro Rail opening, Bangladesh will entre a milestone era, which the country has been waiting since the last decade. Now, it is going to happen. Dhaka Metro Rail will open for public on December 28, 2022.
Bangladeshi government is set to open a section of Bangladesh’s first metro rail on Wednesday. The development came following another achievement after the completion of the Padma Bridge and the Bangabandhu tunnel in 2022.
The Awami League-led Bangladesh government has made all the preparations to ensure that a sizable crowd will line the streets from Diabari to Agargaon in order to make this momentous occasion unforgettable.
During a festive ceremony of Bangladesh’s first electric train service, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will officially inaugurate the Uttara-Agargaon section. She will later purchase a ticket and make her way to the Agargaon station. The environmentally friendly electric train service will reduce the inconvenience and waiting for customers on this route.
Officials of Dhaka Metro rail or Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Limited (DMTCL) will initially run fewer non-stop trains for four hours starting at 8am. During the testing period, which runs until March 26, the train’s pace will also be a little slower than usual, and it will wait a little longer. The trains will depart from Uttara station, make a stop at Pallabi, and then continue directly to Agargaon.
Bangladesh’s First Metro Rail Information in Brief
- Japan is funding the construction of the complete 21.16 km long line from Uttara to Kamalapur at a cost of Tk 334.71 billion
- The government will first open nine stations along the 11.73-kilometer Uttara-Agargaon route. After the full opening, anticipated for December 2023, the journey from Uttara to Motijheel will take forty minutes.
- MRT Line-6 is the name of the project to construct the metro rail from Uttara to Kamalapur. The government intends to link various areas of Dhaka with six metro train lines. One will consist of an underground railway.
- As announced by Minister of Road Transport and Bridges Obaidul Quader, when the whole metro rail plan is implemented in 2030, the severe traffic congestion in Dhaka will be significantly reduced.
- According to the Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Company Limited, which operates the metro rail, Line 6 would be able to handle 60,000 people per hour and 500,000 passengers per day once it begins operating at full capacity.
- A metro train with six carriages and 17 intermediate stations may transport a maximum of 2,308 passengers to their destinations on each trip.
- The DMTCL anticipates that the introduction of metro rail will remove small automobiles from the streets of Dhaka and reduce the usage of fossil fuels. It would enhance the connectivity system in Dhaka and allow individuals to save work hours. Overall, it is anticipated that the metro train system will improve the lives of Dhaka inhabitants.
Signing and Background of Dhaka Metro Rail
To ease the intolerable traffic congestion in Dhaka, the government created the Strategic Transport Plan, or STP, in 2005 with the help of the World Bank. The execution of numerous projects, including the sophisticated public transportation system based on buses and Dhaka metro rail, was envisaged in the 20-year plan (2004-2024).
The task of carrying out the plan fell to the then-Dhaka Transport Coordination Board, currently known as the Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority. The Awami League government spearheaded the construction of Bangladesh’s first metro rail after taking office in 2009.
A 2009–2010 survey sponsored by Japan suggested that Mass Rapid Transit Line 6 be built initially. The following year, the Japan International Cooperation Agency evaluated the project’s viability. The report’s initial recommendation was to build Dhaka metro rail route connecting Uttara and Sayedabad. Later, the location of 20.1 km long was moved from Sayedabad to Motijheel.
The MRT Line-6 construction project was started by the government in 2011 with an initial technical and financial commitment from JICA. At the National Economic Council’s Executive Committee meeting in December 2012, the project received final approval.
At the time, it was expected that the project would cost roughly Tk 219.85 billion. The Japanese government was expected to contribute Tk 165.95 billion of this as project support. The remainder, or Tk 53.9 billion, would be donated by the Bangladeshi government. The metro rail’s completion was anticipated to occur between the years of 2012 and 2024 at the time the project was approved.
The government and JICA agreed to a loan in February 2013 to carry out the metro rail project. Later that year, the road transport and bridges ministry established the Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited to carry out the project and maintain the metro rail.
The final design was completed after around five more months after the traffic survey was finished in August 2014. Several surveys, including archaeological and environmental ones, were finished over the course of the following two years. With the assistance of Japan, the STP was revised in 2015, increasing the number of metro rail services.
Prime Minister Hasina officially launched project work on June 26, 2016, six and a half years after the building of Uttara’s metro train began. Dhaka metro rail depot’s construction started in the later half of 2016. In 2017, the first piles were driven for the elevated railway route from Uttara to Agargaon.
The metro rail would be opened during the celebrations marking 50 years of Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan, Hasina said in 2018. Later, according to Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader, the metro train will be officially opened on December 16, Victory Day, 2021.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic, along with lockdowns and health precautions, caused a delay in the building. The coronavirus also infected a lot of employees. Lastly, it was not possible to begin the dream journey at Bangladesh’s 50th anniversary of independence.
The project was given a further 1.5 years and saw a cost increase of about Tk 114.87 billion on July 19, 2021, bringing the overall cost to Tk 334.72 billion. The updated plan calls for extending the metro rail line from Motijheel to Kamalapur Railway Station by an additional 1.16 kilometers. With the additional work, the project has been extended until December 2025.
What is Mass Rapid Transit?
Mass Rapid Transit, MRT, refers to heavy-rail train-like transportation systems designed to support high-capacity urban travel. In other parts of the world, the mass rapid transit’ (MRT) comprises of subways or underground trains, with the same goal of providing urban inhabitants with an easy and efficient means to travel around congested cities.
The emphasis on the term “mass” suggests that an MRT must be capable of carrying a high number of passengers, as opposed to the lesser numbers supported by other urban rail-based transports such as trams and monorails. When operating through a city, the train tracks in an MRT system are either built within underground tunnels or on viaducts that are elevated above street levels. Furthermore, MRT transportation is virtually always electric, which means it runs on electricity rather than gas or other nonrenewable sources of energy.
Mass Rapid Transit in Bangladesh
According to the official Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL) website, the Dhaka Metro Mass Rapid Transit System will include six lines totaling around 128 kilometers.
The first phase of Mass Rapid Transit Line-6, which will be launched soon, would stretch 11.73 kilometers through dedicated elevated viaducts from Uttara to Agargaon. The remaining 8 kilometers of MRT Line-6 Phase 2 are projected to be operational by December 2023, running from Agargaon to Mothijheel. An additional one-kilometer line from Mothijheel to Kamalapur is expected to be built by June 2025.
According to DMTCL’s plans, MRT Line-6 will include a total of 16 stations, all of which will be elevated. When completed, all six lines of the Dhaka metro rail will have a total of 104 stations spread around the city.
Dhaka Metro Rail to Ease Traffic Jam
According to transportation experts, Dhaka metro rail will help to alleviate some of the capital city’s horrific traffic problems while also providing a contemporary, comfortable, and time-bound urban transportation service.
While Bangladesh’s first metro rail is projected to be completed by the end of 2020, the remaining four metro rail systems are expected to be completed in second and third phases by the year 2035, according to suggestions in the Revised Strategic Transport Plan (RSTP).
Though the initial Strategic Transport Plan called for three metro rail systems and three rapid bus service systems. The aforementioned service systems are being implemented as part of the Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Development project.
The RSTP includes the districts of Greater Dhaka, Gazipur, Manikganj, Munshiganj, Narayanganj, and Narshingdi. All metro rails in Bangladesh will be implemented by the government-owned Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited, three of which will be financed by the Japanese government. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said that with metro line-6 operational, 14 trains would run every three minutes, carrying 60,000 passengers in each directions.
The 20km journey from the north end of Uttara to Motijheel is predicted to take 35 minutes. Each train would feature six air-conditioned cars.
Mass Rapid Transit lines in other countries
The first instance of what we now call mass rapid transit dates back to 1863 in London. The transit system, which began as a round train in a central London subway, spread to other sections of London in 1904. It is now regarded a key part of what is known as the ‘London Underground’ or ‘The Tube’ by locals.
Japan was the first Asian country to fully implement the MRT system. The land of the rising sun opened Asia’s first subway system in its capital, Tokyo, in 1927. The service quickly spread to other parts of Japan, including Osaka, Yokohama, and Kyoto.
China has the world’s largest MRT system, with its 800+ km long Shanghai Metro system. The New York Subway, on the other hand, has the most stops, with 468 stations and 24 lines, most of which are located in the huge city’s underground tunnels.
In India, there are now roughly 15 active metro rail projects encompassing about 800 kilometers of operational line, with several more in the planning stages or awaiting complete launch. The Delhi Metro, with approximately 340 kilometers of operational track, is India’s largest metro system.
How to buy Dhaka metro rail ticket
The much-anticipated Bangladesh’s first metro rail will open to the public in the morning on Wednesday. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will be the first person to ride the Dhaka metro rail by purchasing a ticket.
After the primer has left the site, authorities will begin selling tickets to the general people. Because this is the first phase, only a few trains will run in the morning and afternoon.
Here’s how to buy Dhaka metro rail tickets:
Ticketing System of Dhaka metro rail
- For customers who want to travel by metro rail in Dhaka, there are two ticketing systems: automated and manual.
- Passengers can get their tickets on their own through the automated system, however each passenger is limited to five tickets at a time.
- The manual system adheres to the conventional manner of purchasing tickets from the counter with cash.
- After purchasing a ticket, all passengers will enter via the gate using a smart pass card and will be able to utilize escalators to reach the platform on the third floor.
Dhaka Metro rail fares
- The minimum fare for Dhaka metro rail is Tk20, and the maximum fare from Uttara to Motijheel is Tk 100.
- The price from Uttara station to Agargaon station in the first phase will be Tk 60. Tk 20 will be the cost from Uttara (North) to Uttara (Central) and Uttara-South Station.
- The ticket from Uttara North to Pallabi and Mirpur-11 stations will be Tk 30, Tk 40 till Mirpur 10 and Kazipara stations, and Tk50 until Shewrapara station.
What to do and not to do
Here are the guidelines given by the authorities for trouble-free trips on Bangladesh’s first metro rail:
- Do not leap over the station’s second-floor entrance and exit gates.
- Priority should be given to individuals with special needs when use elevators.
- Adhere to escalator etiquette
- Use the metro rail map to determine your destination.
- Avoid the yellow tactile pavement designed for the visually impaired.
- Smoking is prohibited on station property.
- Constant cleanliness must be maintained
- Do not peek over the platform’s screen door to see the metro train.
- Permit others to leave before you board
- Mind the distance between the station and the metro train coach.
- Stay behind the yellow line for safety on the platform.
- While boarding or alighting trains, do not rush or jostle with other passengers.
- Mobile phones are prohibited during train boarding and alighting
- Do not block train doorways
- Reserve your seats for the elderly and people with special needs.
- Do not lean against the door of the coach
- The mobile phone speakerphone cannot be left on
- Speak in a soft tone
- Do not occupy numerous chairs
- Do not give other passengers inconvenience.
- Do not open the door to the driver’s cab.
- You are accountable for your possessions
- Do not block the passage between two coaches.
- Collaborate with security staff
- Constantly carry your MRT pass
- Do not consume food or liquids on the train.
- Pay attention to the signage and screens within the train for crucial travel information
- Listen carefully to announcements
- Spitting is prohibited, except in specific areas
- In the metro rail region, posters, banners, and graffiti are prohibited.
How to travel by Dhaka metro rail
- To reach the concourse level on the station’s second floor, visitors must either use the escalator or the stairs.
- Long-term, multi-trip MRT passes as well as single-trip tickets are available for purchase at the counters by passengers. Tickets for a single travel can also be purchased from vending machines.
- A traveler must swipe their ticket at the automated entrance point after purchasing it. Then, in order to board a train, the traveler must ascend the stairs or use an escalator to the third floor. The elevator is accessible to the elderly and others with special needs.
- Between the platform and the train will be a platform screen door (PSD). Passengers must remain behind the yellow line for their own safety.
- Before boarding, watch for passengers to exit the train. Anyone who is ill, elderly, pregnant, or traveling with young children should offer them your place. The elderly and those with special needs are given priority by the authorities.
- In order to observe the locations and the distance to their destinations, passengers should keep an eye on the display and route map.
- Passengers must use the stairs or an escalator once more to go to the concourse level on the second floor after they arrive at their destinations.
- MRT passes that are valid for multiple trips must be scanned at exit points, while single-trip tickets must be placed into the slots of automated gates in order to activate the doors.
- Passengers who travel further than the destination for which they paid must pay the difference at the station in order to disembark.