A game-changer for Dhaka commute
The inauguration of the Agargaon-Motijheel portion of Dhaka metro rail marks a momentous step towards the goal of an efficient transportation system in the city. It comes around 10 months after the launching of metro service between Uttara and Agargaon, and the extended 8km route—set to open to the public on Sunday—offers a ride all the way to Motijheel, covering a total distance of 20.10km. What's remarkable about it is the time it will take to travel this distance. Previously, it took at least two to three hours to reach Motijheel from Uttara or vice versa, due to perennial traffic gridlocks. Now, it will take just 31 minutes. This means not just convenience but also a renewed hope for a less stressful daily commute.
As well as travel time—which has long been a source of consternation for those frequenting these vital parts of the capital—the Uttara-Motijheel metro service is also expected to reduce traffic and pollution. As experts have pointed out, there will be fewer vehicles on the streets because of the operation of electricity-driven trains, which in turn will cut an estimated 2.02 lakh tonnes of carbon emissions annually. In a city grappling with the adverse effects of excessive vehicular emissions, this environmental benefit cannot be overstated. There are also considerable financial benefits to be derived, both for commuters and businesses surrounding these areas.
We congratulate the government for the extended metro route. However, we must add that its success, in the long run, will be determined by the quality of service and maintenance. In the past, we have seen how some services run by the government have been marred by poor customer service. We have seen expensive state-owned buses frequently run into problems because of lack of maintenance. The experience in state-run air and railway services has been disappointing at times. The metro service—which will eventually involve six metro lines forming a 140km network surrounding Dhaka—comes with huge expectations. There have been massive investments already. So, the relevant authorities must ensure that the service is run properly and carefully.
That said, as the metro rail network continues to grow, we expect not just shorter commutes but also a cleaner and more sustainable future for Dhaka. This new chapter in the city's transportation history is indeed a cause for celebration and optimism.