…as Sanwo-Olu tests-run system
…reiterates rail’ll be run on electricity
…to convey 200,000 passengers per day
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Governor, Bababjide Sanwo-Olu, has commissioned the completed infrastructure for the first phase of Lagos Rail Mass Transit, LMRT, Blue Line operations to transit between Marina-Mile-2, axis of the state, as part of measures to decongest road traffic.
The project is being handled by the management of Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, LAMATA.
The completion of the infrastructure is in fulfilment of the promise made by Sanwo-Olu of completing the project in the last quarter of 2022, ahead of the commencement of passenger operations slated for the first quarter of 2023.
The Lagos Rail Mass Transit Blue Line is one of the six rail lines and monorail prescribed for Lagos in the state’s Strategic Transport Master Plan (STMP).
The LRMT Blue Line is a 27-kilometer rail system from Marina to Okokomaiko. Construction, divided into phases for ease of implementation and is expected to move more than 500,000 passengers when the entire line is completed.
Recall that Sanwo-Olu had, during the campaign period for the office, prior to 2019 guber polls, promised to complete the infrastructure for the first phase of the LRMT Blue Line and bring it to passenger operation.
The first phase is a 13-kilometer stretch from Marina to Mile 2 and has five stations at Mile 2, Suru-Alaba, Orile Iganmu, National Theatre and Marina. It is expected to move about 200,000 passengers per day.
The rail system would be powered by electricity from an independent power plant to be purposely built for its operation.
Speaking at the event held at National Art Theatre, Igamu, Apapa, Sanwo-Olu, sad, “In our projection, we reckon that this phase of the rail project would move no less than 250,000 passengers daily, while the entire line when completed would move more than 500,000 passengers.”
The governor, who was accompanied by his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, Speaker Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, members of the state executive council, captains of industry, stakeholders, among others.
Sanwo-Olu said: “This milestone in the development of the Lagos Rail Mass Transit is the culmination of several impactful reforms in the transport ecosystem of Lagos State, starting in 1999, the dawn of the fourth Republic, when Asiwaju Bola Tinubu assumed office as the governor.
“Our vision for an integrated transport system is enunciated in the Traffic Management and Transportation pillar of our T.H.E.M.E.S agenda. Our transportation strategy is a multimodal one, bringing together the various elements of road, rail, and water, and ensuring they are seamlessly integrated.
“Coincidentally, Marina is central to our integrated multimodal transport system, being a melting pot for all the transportation modes. I am happy to announce that we will be developing Marina into an integrated transport interchange, with the support of the French Development Agency (AFD).
“I am also happy to inform you that the three train sets for the commercial passenger operations for the Blue Line are already on ground.
“I want to also place on record the role played by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The CBN’s Differentiated Cash Reserves Requirement (DCRR) made it possible for Fidelity, Sterling and Access banks to pool resources together to provide credit financing for the completion of this first phase of the Blue Line. I am grateful to the leadership of the three banks for believing in us.
“To all of you the good people of Lagos, thank you for your patience, for bearing with us in the face of all the inconveniences thrown up by the implementation of the Light Rail network.
“This project is for you, please ensure you safeguard it. You should also bear in mind that this rail system is powered by electricity and must therefore not be trespassed in any way. Crossing the tracks is no longer an option, and the issue of vandalism in any form should not even arise at all. Pedestrian bridges have been provided to enable you cross from one side to the other.
“We will now begin test-running of the line in preparation for its commissioning for commercial passenger operations in the first quarter of 2023.”
Earlier, the Managing Director of LAMATA, Engr. Abimbola Akinajo, stressed that “the completion of the infrastructure for the first phase of the LRMT Blue Line is a testimonial of the importance of public transportation to Governor Sanwo-Olu’s THEMES agenda.
“The substantial completion of civil infrastructure for the first phase of Lagos Rail Mass Transit, LRMT, This is the manifestation of the audacious mind and the spirit of courage of Governor, Sanwo-Olu and his team in the state Executive Council.
According to her, the Blue Line is one of the six rail lines articulated in the Lagos State Strategic Transport Master Plan (STMP), a brainchild of the All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential candidate and former Lagos governor, Bola Tinubu.
She added: “Construction of the Blue line has been one of the most challenging projects the state has ever embarked upon, given the many issues we have had to overcome. To get to this point, we have had disturbances and delays in the relocation of submarine cables, submarine natural gas pipelines, and removal of underwater ship wreckages.
“The submarine geological conditions are complex, thus making construction in the lagoon extremely difficult. On a number of times, barges have collided with the trestle supporting our construction activities while the outbreak of COVID-19 epidemic, and the long transportation cycle of imported equipment and materials also contributed to delays in the prompt completion of the rail project.
“But today the story has changed. Today, Mr. Governor and other distinguished guests will take the first ride on this train using our unified electronic payment system, Cowry Card, which is currently the means of payment on our regulated buses and ferry services.”