Dhaka Metro Rail now connected capital's Uttara with Motijheel as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday (Nov 4) inaugurated the second phase of the much-desired metro rail service from Agargaon to Motijheel. The premier inaugurated the metro train movement towards Motijheel station through waving green flag at Agargaon station this afternoon and there, she also signed on green flags. Later, she cut ribbon and got in the train and started journey for Motijheel at about 2.40 p.m., local media reported.
Expressing her feelings during the opening ride, Sheikh Hasina said her government has taken this initiative of introducing metro rail so everyone can travel easily, save working hours, get relieve from traffic congestion, and get benefit economically.
"Today, we're so delighted as we are opening metro rail movement between Uttara and Motijheel," she said, adding, "we will extend it to Kamalapur Railway station."
The PM extended her gratitude to Japan, JICA, development partners, Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges as well as all the people and workers involved with the works of metro rail.
The train carrying the premier reached Motijheel station at about 3.06 p.m.
Earlier, Bangladesh Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader received the premier on her arrival at the Agargoan station.
Before riding the train, the PM collected ticket from the vending machine at Agargaon station.
At Motijheel station, she 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 project is 2028.
She, as well, unveiled two name plaques on – metro rail service from Agargaon to Motijheel and the construction work of MRT Line-5 (Northern route) as Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader presented two mementos to the prime minister.
MRT Line-5 (northern route) is the third of six planned metro lines, the government is going to construct to establish a 140km network in Dhaka and its adjacent areas to reduce traffic congestion and pollution.
The physical construction work of MRT Line-1, the first underground metro rail in the country, started in February this year.
The extended (Agargaon to Motijheel) route will be opened to the public at 7:30 a.m. Sunday, over 10 months after the launching of metro service between Uttara and Agargaon on Dec 28.
Commuters will be able to take the train from Uttara to Motijheel starting Nov 5, said MAN Siddique, Managing Director of Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL). From Sunday, Siddique said trains will start plying between Agargaon and Motijheel every 10 minutes from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., while the Uttara-Agargaon route will remain open from 7:30 a.m to 8:30 p.m.
Currently, trains operate on the Uttara-Agargaon section from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The new section of MRT Line-6 will connect Farmgate, Karwan Bazar, Shahbag, Dhaka University, Secretariat (Press Club), and Motijheel.
However, the metro rail authorities on Saturday opened three of the seven stations in this section, namely – Farmgate, Secretariat (Press Club) and Motijheel. Three more months will be required to open the remaining four stations.
The length of the Agargaon to Motijheel section is 8.72km. Considering convenience, the route has been extended by 1.16 km from Motijheel to Kamalapur, which is expected to be completed by June 2024.
MAN Siddique said it takes 17 minutes to travel from Uttara to Agargaon on the metro, and it will initially require 14 minutes to reach Motijheel from Agargaon, meaning that the travelling from Uttara to Motijheel will take around 31 minutes.
Once all 16 stations between Uttara and Motijheel route become operational, the journey will take around 38 minutes, he added.
Siddique said around 90,000 people use the metro rail daily, adding that, the number of users is expected to reach 5,00,000 when the route from Uttara to Motijheel is fully functional.
The government is implementing the fast-track project to construct the 21.26km elevated metro line from Uttara to Kamalapur.
Each train can run at a speed of 100 to 110 km/h with 2,300 passengers. However, the speed will be lower in areas with bends.
After assuming power in 2009, the Awami League government took various initiatives to reduce the pressure on the capital. Initiatives were taken to build metro rail across the capital to ease traffic congestion, according to the project details.
The metro rail will be able to carry 60 thousand passengers per hour and half a million passengers per day, and one train will arrive at each station every four minutes.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has been constructing the metro rail and providing soft loans for the project.