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Fallout of blockade

Metro stations see mad rush of passengers

FE REPORT | July 11, 2024 00:00:00

All metro rail stations witnessed on Wednesday a mad rush of passengers due to the ongoing blockade action by students demanding the repeal of the quota system in government jobs.

Long queues of passengers were seen stretching out from station buildings to footpaths in busy areas like Karwanbazar, Motijheel, Secretariat and Farmgate.

Such an unusual crowd of commuters was because of the metro rail being the lone safest mode of transport for them to reach their destination amid student protests.

Even other modes of transport remained off the roads.

The FE found security forces at stations struggling to manage the crowd as they kept entries to busy stations closed to avoid chaos at counters and concourses.

According to officials of the Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL), 50,000 more passengers than their daily count have availed the MRT (mass rapid transit) since Sunday.

The MRT ran with 332,000 passengers on Tuesday, which were 351,000 on Monday and 365,000 on Sunday, first two days of the blockade, revealed the passenger data.

DMTCL company secretary Mohammad Abdur Rouf said special teams were working at all stations to manage the extra pressure of passengers.

"We're trying to serve passengers in our capacity to manage the crowd," he told the FE. The official, however, regretted their lapse, saying: "Trains or headways couldn't be increased overnight as many things were needed to synchronise with the entire operation system which was time-consuming."

The MRT-06 is the country's first high-speed metro introduced in the busiest and densely populated north-south corridor of the capital city of Dhaka.

Its partial operation was launched at the end of December 2022 and full operation last January keeping the time of operation limited from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm.

With its full-capacity operation is yet to start, the company was unable to manage extra passengers neither by increasing the time of operation or headways for lack of adequate manpower.

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