Lagos Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, yesterday, said with the commencement of commercial operation of the Blue Line Rail Mass Transit, the dream of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has become a reality.
He commended President Tinubu, first governor of Lagos State, for putting in place the transportation master plan, including the rail, waterways and road infrastructure.
Sanwo-Olu gave the commendation during the flagged off of the commercial operation of the Blue Line Rail Mass Transit in Marina.
“I want to commend all of our leaders and the people that have kept faith with the modern Lagos we have today. But more importantly, I think it is important for us to acknowledge the great work that our president, Tinubu, the first governor of Lagos State, who started with a vision of the Lagos State Urban Mass Transportation System with the creation of Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA).
“It was from that master plan that we are all involved to have a train master plan infrastructure, the road master plan infrastructure, and all of the deliverables that we are seeing today. So, we need to thank him and we need to acknowledge all the great works he has done in Lagos. God will give him the opportunity to also do it bigger for Nigeria.”
Sanwo-Olu alongside other dignitaries boarded the train at about 9.07am, at the iconic Marina Station.
The governor boarded from the first coach and walked to the seventh coach. He also took it upon himself to be the ride manager, taking time to explain requirements to board the train to the people.
“I think we are about to have a wonderful experience this morning. This shows that when we put our heart to ensuring we give the very best in our environment, we can get it right. So, I’m extremely excited with the work that LAMATA and all other stakeholders have done to ensure we keep to our commitment to serve this operation on September 4.
“I was head of the train operators to ensure people’s safety and security throughout the journey, how passengers need to embark and disembark, how to keep with the safety and security tips of the train, among others.
“Let me also commend everyone who has kept faith with us. It is important that we also acknowledge the great work of our President, Bola Tinubu, the first governor in Lagos State, who started the vision of LAMATA in 2003/2004, that master plan has led us to this point today.
“Let me also mention that the Lagos State Residents Registration Agency (LASRRA) card, which is one of our residents’ identity card, can also be used on the train. So, I will implore all of us, especially students, to go get their LASRAA cards. Be reminded again that the cowry card is an intermodal card. It can be used on the BRT buses, ferry service and the train, so let’s rise and enjoy our integrated mass urban transportation system that we have been talking about.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu also promised the Red Line will be ready before the year ends.
“The red line is about 95-96 per cent complete, but we won’t open if it’s not 100 per cent ready. We are, however, certain it will be ready before the year ends.
“By the end of September, we will start opening our bridges – Ikeja Along, Yaba, Ebute Metta, Mushin, and others. They will be opened to vehicular movement. I hope Mr. President will do us the honours of opening the bridges. And I can assure you the Red Line will be bigger than the Blue Line,” he said.
All Progressives Congress Chairman, Cornelius Ojelabi, described the project as a welcome development, a nice initiative and clever way of reducing traffic on the roads.
“I urge Lagosians to take ownership of this project. It is their project. It is their money the government has invested in making life more pleasant for them. They should also patronise this service so there can be enough resources to maintain it and it can serve us for a long time,” he said.
Other dignitaries who took the inaugural ride were wife of the governor, Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat, Secretary to the State Government, Bimbola Salu-Hundeyin, former deputy governor, Femi Pedro, former speaker, House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, Musiliu Obanikoro, Body of Permanent Secretaries, Commissioner of Police, Idowu Owohunwa, among other top government officials.
The ride from the Marina station to Mile 2 took about 17 to 20 minutes, with 90secs stop at each station before the final destination at Mile 2. The train thereafter returned to Marina.