The Dhaka-Narayanganj rail service resumed today after an eight-month suspension, but it is now operating with lower commuting capacity and higher fares than before.
The rail operations on this route were halted on 4 December last year to facilitate the works of the Padma Bridge Rail Link project and the Dhaka-Narayanganj Double Line Rail project.
Despite the authorities' commitment to resume services within three months, it took an additional five months to resume operations.
The service has been resumed with a fare of Tk20 per person to travel from Dhaka to Narayanganj, which was previously Tk15, resulting in a 33% fare hike.
This increase in fares, combined with a reduction in the number of trips, may lead to increased difficulties for commuters.
The railway will now operate a total of eight pairs of trains per day on the section, only half the number of trains that were running during the pre-Covid-19 period.
The number of trains was reduced to 10 pairs during the resuming service after the Covid-19 lockdowns.
Under the new management, the last train from Dhaka to Narayanganj will now leave Kamalapur at 8:30pm instead of 10pm. Similarly, the last train from Narayanganj to Dhaka will depart at 21.35, while it used to leave at 11pm previously.
A notification from Shaukat Jamil Mohsi, deputy director (Traffic Transport) of railways, revealed that the newly-constructed dual gauge line in the Dhaka-Gendaria section under the Padma Bridge Rail Link Project has been opened. As a result, eight pairs of commuter trains are allowed to run daily with this new arrangement.
Muhammad Shafiqur Rahman, divisional railway manager at Dhaka of the Bangladesh Railway, said the Narayanganj route train was running as a local train.
"However, it has now been converted into a commuter train as the train's coaches are equipped with fan and light facilities. Fares have also increased slightly due to these improvements," he added.