Dhaka metro rail compartments were seen brimming with commuters this morning, just a day after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the Agargaon-Motijheel route.
This occurred simultaneously with reports of arson violence across the capital amidst a 48-hour road, rail, and waterways blockade organized by BNP, Jamaat, and other like-minded opposition parties nationwide.
Commuters in Dhaka were boarding the train in larger numbers to go from one part of the capital to others as Agargaon-Motijheel section of Dhaka Metro Rail opened to public this morning, almost a year after the first part of the MRT Line-6 (Uttara-Agargaon) opened.
The Agargaon-Motijheel section of Dhaka Metro Rail is set to reduce travel time from one part of the capital to another by more than a third.
On any other Sunday in Dhaka, it would typically take at least an hour and a half on the road to travel from the capital’s Uttara to Farmgate.
Those days seem to be over now.
This UNB correspondent boarded the metro rail at Uttara North Station at 9:10 am and reached Farmgate at 9:30 am, a 20-minute journey that was previously unthinkable on weekdays.
The Agargaon-Motijheel section of MRT Line-6 was opened to the public at 7:30 am today, said Nasir Uddin Ahmed, director (operations and maintenance) of Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited.
“The first trains from both sides (Uttara North and Motijheel) left the stations at 7:30 am sharp as scheduled,” he added.
All six coaches of the train were seen fully packed with office-going commuters as Sunday is the first working day in Bangladesh.
On the metro rail, this UNB correspondent spoke to some fellow commuters.
“It’s an amazing experience. I never thought we would be able to travel from Uttara to Motijheel in just 30 minutes,” said Moqbul, who has been making the daily commute from Uttara to Motijheel for work over the past 25 years.
“Previously, I’d have to leave home at least two hours before my office started, just to reach the destination on time,” he told UNB.
Another commuter from Dhaka’s Mirpur area urged the authorities to expand the metro rail’s operating hours from Uttara to Motijheel as soon as possible.
“I can’t believe that I can now leave for my office just 30-40 minutes ahead of the actual office time and still reach my destination on time,” said Saajid, a resident of Mirpur in his late 20s, who recently started working at a bank in Motijheel.
Initially, metro rail operations on Agargaon-Motijheel section will be operated for four hours, from 7:30 am to 11:30 am, according to the project officials. Commuters can use three stations out of seven on Agargaon-Motijheel route for now. Those are Farmgate, Secretariat and Motijheel stations.
However, commuters reported confusion regarding the schedule for the Uttara-Motijheel route.
Numerous commuters, who boarded the metro rail after 11 am, assuming that the last train to Motijheel would depart at 11:30, were surprised to discover that the final train to Motijheel had already left the station at 11 am.
Requesting anonymity, an official at the Agargaon station said there has been some miscommunication regarding the schedule.
The last train to Motijheel from Uttara North Station will depart at 11 am and from Motijheel to Uttara at 11:30 am, he told UNB.
The Uttara-Agargaon route of MRT Line-6 of Dhaka Metro Rail was inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in December last year.
Yesterday (November 4, 2023) Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the Agargaon-Motijheel section of the MRT Line-6, making the entire route from Uttara North to Motijheel operational.