President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday took a ride on the 13 km Phase One of the Lagos Rail Mass Transit (Blue Line) signaling the commencement of operation on the light rail.
The President who rode the train from the Marina Station to National Theatre Station was also on ground to witness the contract signing of the second phase between the State Government and Messrs China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation (CCECC), the contractor which handled the project.
The first phase of the project, executed by the State Government, spans 13 kilometers, and has five stations – Mile 2, Suru-Alaba, Orile Iganmu, National Theatre and Marina.
The second phase would extend the track from Mile-2 to Okokomaiko.
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The inauguration came a month after the project was test-run by the government following the completion of the civil work.
The President took a ride at around 12 p.m, and was joined by other dignitaries in attendance including the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Cun Jianchun.
However, he did not give a speech before or after the ceremonial ride.
But the excited Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, reiterated that the Lagos light rail is an important component of its Integrated Transportation Master Plan.
The governor who promised to bring the entire stretch of the line to completion with the contract signing said the project is people-focused and it would reduce travel time, improve the quality of life of the people, and boost the state’s economy.
Sanwo-Olu stated that the Blue line which was achieved with the collaboration with the Nigerian Railway Corporation is a testament of the President’s “bold, national vision towards various infrastructural transformations across the country.
He however hailed the former governor of the state and APC Presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for being the architect of the light rail system.
He said phase one of the Blue line has five stations – Marina, National Theatre (Iganmu), Alaba, Orile and Mile 2 Stations, which cuts the trip between Marina to Mile 2 to less than 15 minutes, what hitherto was done in two hours.
Giving the features of the new train system, Sanwo-Olu said the Blue line would be powered by end-to-end “high voltage electricity to be supplied by a dedicated independent power plant as a back up system which means the operation of the system would have zero carbon emission impact on the environment.