The Managing Director of Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), Abimbola Akinajo, has announced that the Blue Line Rail will commence commercial operation on Monday, September 4.
This information was disclosed to newsmen on Wednesday during a press conference at the Marina Train Station.
The MD explained that the inaugural train ride will take place on Monday by 9 am with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on board alongside other commuters with his cowry card, the only access to the train.
She explained that LAMATA has provided ticketing offices where Lagosians can buy a cowry card, register it and top up, adding that there would be staff to assist with the process and also that self-service system is available.
“We have three railways sets and we have looked at how we are going to do officials but for the first couple of weeks, we will only run 12 trips, which means we will gradually increase the operational service that we will offer,” Akinajo said.
The LAMATA MD said from Tuesday, September 5th the starting time would be 6:30 am then the train will return by 5:30 pm for the evening section. She explained that 76 trips will be carried out daily when the Blue Line Rails fully ramps up and that the train will begin work by 5:30 am and complete the day at 10:30 pm.
While noting that every station is ready for service, Akinajo stressed that the trains will depart every stations exactly 90 seconds after its arrival.
Akinajo explained that an estimated passengers between 150,000 or 175,000, will use the train daily.
She said, “This is a metro service, not one that people can wander to come on. We will be working to a time table that will be available on LAMATA website and at every station. When the train gets to any station, it will stop for no more than 90 seconds. It is a scheduled service so passengers must understand the timetable and be available on the platform one minute before the train.
On the modus operandi of the service, “We will be doing the services as morning pick and evening pick, during the day we will still be carrying out testing but it is nothing that concerns the passengers, it is for us to continue to ascertain that our electric system has completely synched with the physical infrastructure. To that end, you may see a locomotive in front of our rollingstock, that is what we will use to power for now. After two weeks, we will increase the number of services.
“But in the next four weeks, the locomotive will come off the rollingstock and the system will be completely electrified. That electric system will come up in four weeks. We are using the time to allow the electrical system to be tested but also to allow us and the passengers to understand how to function around the metro system so that by the time we are fully energized, everybody would be comfortable around the system.”
She, however, sounded a strong note of warning to commuters not to cross the tracks as they are fully energised even though the energy is not fully utilised at the moment.
“Please, under no circumstance should anyone get on the tracks because they are energised we are not just using it to power the trains for now. When we are doing the testing, they will be energised. If you cross the track, it will be fatal,” Akinajo warned.
She warned against vandalism of the train infrastructure, stating that 300 camera fixed in the stations and 30 other cameras along the tracks.
Akinajo hammered that, “We have over 300 cameras in our stations, we have over 30 cameras along the tracks, for you to know that we will not tolerate any vandalism of our infrastructure. We have control centers in every station and a major center at the LAMATA office. When you come in, we have a system to know what you’re coming with. We have plain-clothes police officers, Lagos Neighbourhood officers that will ride on the train with us always. Anybody found wanting would be handed over to the police and prosecuted.”
She warned against eating or drinking on the train to keep the sanctity.
On the fare, she said the transport palliative announced by Governor Sanwo-Olu will also reflect on train transportation.
“A full journey is N750 from Mile 2 to Marina. We have zonal fares that range between N400 and N500. The good news is commuters will enjoy the transportation palliatives of 50 % discount by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu,” she noted.
To justify the operations of the Blue Line Rail in the state, newsmen and some other people present were taken on a tour on the train.