By Temi Olowu
Lagos Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, kicked off commercial operations on the state blue line rail on Monday, seven months after the transport system was commissioned by the immediate past President, Mohammadu Buhari.
In a post on his X handle, the state governor said, “We began commercial operations for the long-awaited Blue Line Rail from Marina to Mile 2 as we put #LagosOnTrack together.”
On the first trip from Marina Station of the Blue Line Rail are: Sanwo-Olu, who was the first passenger; his wife, Ibijoke; Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat; Secretary to Lagos State Government, Abimbola Salu-Hundeyin; Lagos State All Progressives Congress (APC) Chairman, Cornelius Ojelabi; Commissioner of Police, Idowu Owohunwa; government officials and party leaders, among others.
The governor said that with a starting 50 percent discount on all public transport fares with the Cowry Card, the state is ensuring that Lagosians can move freely in pursuit of economic and leisure activities.
“The Blue Line Rail is equipped with state-of-the-art security features, including 300+ CCTV cameras and command centers at all stations, as well as an independent power plant that ensures the trains can have uninterrupted movement.
“We are starting partial passenger operations from 6:30–10 a.m. and 4–9:30 p.m.We’re kicking off with 12 trips for 2 weeks, gradually increasing to 76 trips per day, the governor stated.
He said the Blue Line Rail is one of the rail projects designed to make Lagos a fully interconnected city and that it will transform our city’s transport system, noting that “we remain committed to transforming every area of our great state.”
Sanwo-Olu urged Lagosians to take ownership of the project and warned against pedestrian crossing of the rail tracks, saying that they are electrified.
He said, “About 800 of us have just completed the first commercial journey on the Blue Line. I think we all had a wonderful experience this morning. I am extremely excited about the work that LAMATA and all other stakeholders have done to ensure that we can keep our commitment to start this operation on September 4, 2023.
“I am dressed as the Head of the Train Operators to ensure that simple safety and security procedures are followed throughout the journey. All of these very simple safety and security tips were followed during and throughout the journey.
“The LASRRA (Lagos State Residents Registration Agency) card, which is our state’s citizens identity card, can also be used on the train. So I want to encourage all of you, especially students, to go and get your LASRRA cards because you can use them to travel on the train.
“On the Cowry Card, we have almost 4 million citizens that have the Cowry cards already, and the cards can be used on the train, on our buses, BRT, and also on the ferry service. So, let us go out there and get our Cowry card and top it up so that we can enjoy our integrated urban mass transportation system that we have talked about.”
The governor used the occasion to announce the state of the Red Line Rail, noting that the project is 96 percent complete and would be commissioned by President Bola Tinubu before the end of the year.
He said that the various stations and bridges constructed for the Red Line rail would be commissioned starting at the end of the month.
“The Red Line currently is about 95–96 percent, and if it doesn’t get to 100 percent, we won’t commission it. But we are certain that before the end of the year, we will also commission the Red Line,” Sanwo-Olu said.
(Edited by Oludare Mayowa; firstname.lastname@example.org; Newsroom: +234 8033 964 138)