Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State led hundreds of Lagosians, consisting of members of the public, the media, and other sectoral stakeholders to herald the commencement of commercial passenger operations of the first phase of the Lagos Blue Line rail services today, Monday, September 4, 2023, with a train ride from the iconic Marina train station to the Mile 2 terminal station.
The Lagos Blue Line is one of the six identified Rail routes in the Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) Masterplan designed to alleviate challenges of mass transit across the city of Lagos. It would be recalled that the electricity powered high-speed metro train system was commissioned by former President Muhammadu Buhari on January 24, 2022, while the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), through its Managing Director, Engineer Abimbola Akinajo, had announced the much-awaited take-off of passenger operations at a press conference on Wednesday, August 30, 2023.
The Governor, who attended the milestone occasion along with the Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat; the First Lady, Dr. (Mrs.) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, and other dignitaries in the State expressed excitement over the commencement of the Blue Line rail saying, “It’s been a wonderful experience personally for me this morning, and for almost all the 500 passengers”.
Governor Sanwo-Olu assured Lagosians of maximum security, safety, and convenience on the train. “As you can see, the whole place is well secured. There are men of the Nigerian Police, there are Neighourhood Watch. And they also have private security operatives that are all there. The stations are clean, and we are all good to go. With your Cowry Card you are good to go. So, let’s go out there and get our Cowry Card and top it up so we can enjoy integrated urban mass transportation system that we have talked about”, he urged Lagosians.
Passengers are only allowed to get on the train with the Cowry Card or the LASSRA Identification Card. The Governor further announced a reduction in the fare on the train to N375 from the actual N750 fare for a complete trip along the first phase. This is with respect to the 50 percent discount subsidy palliative from the Lagos State Government to ease the burden of rising cost of living on Lagos residents.
The Governor also charged Lagosians to be safety conscious and conduct themselves with utmost care around the infrastructure, noting that the train tracks are electrified and therefore should not be crossed for any reason, neither for buying nor selling purposes.
Governor Sanwo-Olu took the opportunity to provide update to Lagosians on the first phase of the Red Line, another route of the LRMT running from Agbado to Oyingbo. “The Red Line is about 95 percent ready, and when it gets to 100 percent, we will commission it. We are certain that before the end of the year, we will commission the Red Line”, he said.
“By the end of this month we will start commissioning the bridges: Ikeja-Along Bridge, Oyingbo Bridge, Yaba Bridge, Mushin Bridge, Ayoola-Coker Bridge. We will start opening the bridges for vehicular movement”, he disclosed.
Three trains are available for the Blue Line operations now, with each having a capacity to move 1,000 passengers per trip and an estimated combined total of 150,000 passengers daily.
Daily services on the first phase of the Blue Line will start from 6:30 am for the Mile-2 to Marina trip, and 7:03 am for the return. With stops at the Alaba, Iganmu, and National Theatre stations, the 13-km stretch takes less than 30 minutes on the Lagos Blue Line.