Commuters jostle each other to ride packed metro trains for faster Uttara-Motijheel trip

Passengers say they are happy to save time even by paying extra and bear the suffering of travelling in fully occupied trains

Senior Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 20 Jan 2024, 07:19 PM
Updated : 20 Jan 2024, 07:19 PM

Around 2:20pm at Dhaka Metro Rail's Secretariat Station, amidst a bustling crowd, sisters Sadia and Nadia Parvin struggled to board the next train, having failed to get on the previous one due to overcrowding.

Nadia, the younger of the two, expressed doubts about boarding the incoming train, filled with passengers. "I don't think we can get on this one either with all the extra passengers," she said.

But Sadia insisted, "No, stay at the front; even if we have to push through, we must get on."

Their efforts paid off and they competed with fellow passengers and managed to hop on the train. Despite the crowded interior, they managed to secure a spot on the train. Finding a small space to stand, their faces lit up with smiles.

As some passengers were left waiting for the next train, a new group began to gather, forming a line at the entrance.

This is a glimpse of Dhaka's inaugural MRT-6 metro rail service from Uttara to Motijheel on a Saturday afternoon, marking the first full day of passenger operations.

The subsequent hours saw an influx of passengers, all eager to utilise the metro for quicker travel. Before the expansion of service hours, the journey from Uttara to Motijheel was limited to the morning hours, from 7:30am to 12:00pm.

Now, with the extension, the last train from Motijheel departs at 8pm, while on the Uttara-Agargaon route, service runs until 8:30pm.

On the inaugural day of extended service, a constant stream of passengers could be seen, some suggesting a need for reduced waiting times between trains.

Before boarding the train, Sadia, hailing from Mirpur, shared with bdnews24.com her reason for choosing the metro: a visit to their aunt in Paltan. Though initially planning an extended stay, urgent matters necessitated a swift return.

"It's amazing to reach Paltan from Mirpur in just 20 minutes. Dhaka seems smaller this way, but taking the bus would take the whole day," she added.

When spoken to, the general consensus about the Dhaka Metro Rail was one of satisfaction.

Passengers from Motijheel particularly praised the system and called for expedited progress on other metro rail projects to elevate Dhaka's public transport to a global standard.

A COMMUTE REVOLUTIONISED

Sohail Arman, an employee at a private company, now opts for the metro rail for his daily Paltan to Farmgate commute. This choice, however, has resulted in a doubling of his travel expenses.

He explained, “I used to pay Tk 15 for the bus, and now it's double with the metro. Still, I gladly pay more because it used to take me about 40 minutes, and now it is just 10 minutes.”

Sohail views the additional Tk 15 as a fair trade-off for saving around 30 minutes of travel time. He believes many prioritise time efficiency over cost.

Having used metro systems in other countries, Sohail is optimistic that Dhaka's metro rail will operate at an international standard.