Following the completion of the infrastructure for the first phase of the Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LMRT) Blue Line, a 13-kilometre stretch from Marina to Mile 2, the Managing Director, Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, LAMATA, Engr. Mrs. Abimbola Akinajo, has admonished Lagosians to own and protect the structure and facility provided to aid rail operations.
The LAMATA MD gave advice whilst fielding questions on a monitored broadcast programme ‘Your View’ anchored by Morayo Afolabi-Brown, on Television Continental.
She said the completion of the infrastructure was a significant milestone achievement by the Lagos State government under the leadership of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and therefore urged Lagosians to protect the rail infrastructure from vandalism to avoid wasting the commonwealth investment. “I want to speak about owning this infrastructure. Let us not under any circumstance begin to vandalize it. If the state spends money three times on something that it is supposed to do once, then all of us will be the ones paying,” she said.
She appealed to Lagosians not to cross the rail tracks, advising them to always use the pedestrian bridges provided to cross the road.
She stated that the warning had become urgent because the Blue Line rail track will be powered by high-voltage electricity. “The rail tracks are electrified. Please don’t cross it. Under no circumstance should you cross the tracks. We’ve been talking about it, and we’ll continue to talk about it. Don’t cross it. Use the overhead bridges that we have provided,” she warned.
Akinajo highlighted some of the benefits that commuters would enjoy by riding on the metro rail to include comfort and journey time savings. “Our trains are air-conditioned,” she stated. “And if you’re going from Mile 2 to Marina today, you will spend at least close to two hours on the road. That train will take you not more than 20 minutes depending on speed,” she emphasized.
On the issue of security, the LAMATA MD assured that passengers will be safe on the Blue Line. “We have always had the visibility of CCTV in all our stations. We are also working with Lagos Neighbourhood Watch, people who sort of mingle with the crowd, gather local intelligence, and understand what people are doing.”
Asked the mission of LAMATA, the LAMATA MD stated that the organization was responsible for planning, implementing, regulating, a multimodal transportation system in tandem with the Lagos State Strategic Transport Master Plan. The Lagos Blue Line is part of that multimodal transport scheme integration and one of the major fulfillments of the Traffic Management and Transportation pillar of the Lagos State Government’s T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda.
The Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LMRT) Blue Line is a 27-kilometre rail system from Marina to Okokomaiko. Construction has been divided into two phases for ease of implementation and the completed 13km first phase, stretching from Marina to Mile 2 is expected to move about 250,000 passengers per day, when it becomes operational.
She reiterated the state government’s commitment to beginning passenger operations on the first phase by the end of the first quarter, or the first week in April 2023, while confirming that payment for the services will be via Cowry Card, the same automated fare collection system used across the Lagos State public transport ecosystem including on BRT buses and LAGFERRY.
The Blue Line Phase-1 is set for commissioning by President Muhammadu Buhari on January 24.