Metrorail: Increase train coaches considering public demand

Prothom Alo illustration

Metrorail has become a breather for the Dhaka dwellers battered by traffic jams. But the number of coaches is still less than the number of passengers. The interval between two trains is also relatively long. Operation time of the Metrorail has been increased a bit. Yet, the regular passengers’ demand is not fully met. Such a picture was depicted in a Prothom Alo report published recently. Solving these problems is not impossible if the authorities want.

The Metrorail is supposed to operate between morning and 12:00am on the Uttara-Motijheel route. Metrorail is supposed to carry 60,000 passengers an hour and half a million passengers a day. There are sufficient trains for carrying this much passengers as 24 sets of trains have been procured for this route. But currently the trains are running between 8:00am to 8:00pm with coach coaches in every 10 to 12 minutes interval. It is possible to operate trains till 12:00am adding two more coaches with each train. Interval between the trains can also be decreased. Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited authorities assume that the number of passengers is higher due to book fair and trade fair. The authorities have an apprehension that the same number of passengers would be available if the number of coaches and trips are increased and timing of operation is increased. But the passengers think differently.

Many people have chosen Metrorail as it is a faster means of communication. The Metrorail runs with full capacity be it morning, afternoon or night. Long queues are seen in front of ticket counters. Almost all the coaches can be seen loaded with passengers. Some people think that the coaches reserved for women are comparatively less crowded. But we’ve seen pictures of the coach brimming with women negating that view. Moreover, Dhaka city remains awake till midnight. Many people in the city commute even after 8:30pm.

While this is the actual situation, it is not understandable as to why the Metrorail authorities think otherwise. Even if the designated staffers of the Metrorail authorities can’t count the passengers in every station, they have the statistics of ticket sales. If they assessed the situation, the authorities would have added more coaches and the number of trains would have become more frequent by this time.

Sources on condition of anonymity told Prothom Alo that the main problem is lack of efficient manpower. We hope Metrorail will soon do away with the manpower crisis. Questions can be raised as to why manpower could not yet be properly trained in the project that took twelve years to become fully operational. Also, trains could not operate for around one and half hours due to power outages immediately after the inauguration. This was not supposed to happen as authorities claimed the trains will operate uninterruptedly.

The Dhaka dwellers have to adjust with multifarious problems every day. A World Bank study found that traffic jams eat away 3.2 million working hours every day. Daily financial loss in traffic jams in 73 intersections of Dhaka stands at Tk 980 billion. Also, vehicles burn fuel worth Tk 110 billion due to traffic jams. The city dwellers suffered during twelve years of construction of the Metrorail, and now they deserve some respite. We hope that the Metrorail authorities will consider the demand of the passengers with due importance.