April 20, 2024, 8:01 am

Metro Rail: Authorities plan to increase number of coaches to keep up with crowds

  • Update Time : Monday, January 29, 2024
  • 34 Time View
Photo: Collected

They also want to operate trains every five minutes during peak hours and keep service going until 11 pm within a few months

Desk Report:

Authorities are increasing the number of coaches on metro rail trains running from Uttara to Motijheel from six to eight in a bid to manage the huge crowds of passengers using the service.

The Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL), which implemented and runs the metro rail, believes that the new initiative would ease difficulties for passengers finding it hard to get on and off the trains. This would allow those who avoid the metro rail due to overcrowding to use the service and thin the crowd on the streets.

A passenger who commuted from Mirpur to the Secretariat applauded the initiative and demanded that the time gap between trains running on the route should also be decreased.

Currently, trains run every 10 minutes in peak hours and every 12 minutes in off-peak hours. DMTCL says they are working to reduce the time gap between trains running and extend service hours to 11 pm from 9 pm.

The metro rail has been a ray of hope for Dhaka, a city enmeshed in severe traffic congestion. It has dropped the travel time from Mirpur-10 to Farmgate to 10 minutes, and from Mirpur-10 to Motijheel to 20 minutes.

The brief travel time has led to a surge of passengers who are using the trains as an alternative to buses, cars, and auto-rickshaws, easing the pressure of Dhaka’s gridlock.

However, the heavy crowds on the metro, especially during the peak hours, has been a cause for concern. Sometimes, passengers have to wait for three or four trains to pass before there is room enough for them to board.

One of the six coaches currently in use is dedicated to women. Each coach has a maximum capacity of 390 passengers. But two of the coaches have a slightly reduced capacity of 374 passengers as the trains have engines at both ends.

So, a train can carry a maximum of 2.300 passengers for the moment. When the number of coaches is increased, a train will be able to carry more than 3,000 passengers.

“We have noticed that the number of passengers taking the metro rail has been increasing day by day. Hence, we decided to turn the six-coach set to an eight-coach set. We’ve started the necessary work for that,” said Iftikhar Hossain, general manager of DMTCL.

Badhan Sarkar, a commuter from Mirpur to Secretariat Station on the metro rail, hailed the decision. “It’s great news that the authorities decided to add more coaches. Once I had to skip the first train due to the crowd and travelled later. I hope they can add more coaches,” she said.

SERVICE TIME EXTENSION UNDER DISCUSSION

In addition to more coaches, regular passenger Badhan highlighted the need to increase the number of trains as well.

Passengers had to wait for more than 10 minutes for a train which is quite a long time, she said. “The authorities must reduce the time gaps between two trains, especially during peak hours.”

Currently, trains are running every 10 minutes in peak hours from 7:10 am to 11:30 am and from 4 pm to 8 pm. Trains arrive every 12 minutes in off-peak hours from 11:30 am to 4 pm.

The DMTCL managing director said the demand from commuters like Badhan would be fulfilled soon. Still, he believes just adding more coaches to the trains wouldn’ be enough to meet the escalating number of passengers.

As many as 135,000 to 156,000 daily passengers travelled by trains when the metro rail was running from Uttara to Motijheel from 7:10 am to 11:30 am. The figure rose to 250,000 in the last one week.

DMTCL officer Iftikhar Hossain said the authorities would implement the targets set by the project proposal, including running trains every five minutes, running until 11 pm and using train sets of eight coaches in each.

They would add new coaches now but would need some time to reach the other two targets, he said.

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