At Last, Lagos Blue Rail Begins Operations
By Adedapo Adesanya
After years of delays and extensions, the Lagos Blue Line Rail has begun commercial operations, with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu taking the first ride this morning (September 4).
The first phase of the rail line extends from Marina to Mile 2 with five stations located in Marina, National Theatre, Iganmu, Alaba, and Orile.
Operations commenced from Marina to Mile 2 Train Station, with Mr Sanwo-Olu taking the first ride at about 09:45 am. He was joined by some select persons, including the Commissioner of Police for the state, Mr Idowu Owohunwa; the First Lady, Mrs Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu; the Deputy Governor, Mr Obafemi Hamzat; the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Bimbola Salu-Hundeyin; the former Deputy Governor, Mr Femi Pedro; an ex-Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr Adeyemi Ikuforiji; and Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, among other government officials.
According to the Managing Director of the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), Mrs Abimbola Akinajo, for the first month, the train would run only 12 trips with the locomotive system.
However, she said LAMATA will begin the electric-powered train operation with 76 trips. An estimated passenger capacity between 150,000 and 175,000 are expected to take rides from 5:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
While the train will only stop for 90 seconds at each station, the LAMATA boss noted the state government’s transport palliative would also reflect on the train services.
The project was conceived in 1983 by the Lateef Jakande administration. It was then flagged off in December 2003 by the government of Bola Tinubu while he was the governor of the state.
The project stalled until Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, in 2008, made progress with the rail project, focusing initially on the Blue and the Red lines. The project is designed to run through various areas under a seven-line network codenamed Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Purple, Brown, and Orange lines.
The Blue Line, which the state is supposed to be a 27 km-long rail project connecting Okokomaiko to Marina. It is split into two phases. The first phase is from Marina to Mile 2, while the second phase is from Mile 2 to Okokomaiko, with the initial estimated completion date of 2011 for the first phase.
This was further to 2013, but over the last 10 years, the project saw interest from successive administrations but still suffered many delays, with the state government and LAMATA sometimes giving contradictory reasons for the delay in meeting the numerous deadlines.