Home Transportation Blue Line rail test run: Participants relieve experiences

Blue Line rail test run: Participants relieve experiences

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Participants of the first test run of the blue light rail which moved from Marina train station on Monday shared their experiences. The participants include students, the University of Lagos lecturers, top government functionaries, journalists, and heads of government agencies.

Among them is Abiodun Sashoya, a director in the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation who narrated the experience of his first train ride as something he will never forget.

Narrating his experience Sashoya said: “This is the first time I will ever get on a train, I have never been on a train. So, for me, it’s an experience I cannot forget. I was actually looking forward to it. I told my children that daddy is going to get on the train for the first time. I am in my 50’s. This is my first time on a moving train, I have crossed Ebute-Meta and seen parked and moving trains but this my first experience.

“ I think it’s an experience, we are doing something for the first time. This is something that is an everyday experience for some other people. I feel a little bit embarrassed to tell anyone that it’s my first time on the train but it’s very exciting, it’s comfortable, the time frame is short.

“I hope Lagosians will make good use of this facility so they don’t turn it to another thing. I am sure government has expended huge capital in doing this. We should make good use of this. I want to commend the government for their efforts. By the time all these are completed, Lagos will be a completely different state.”

Another participant, Peter Henderson, a 200-level Geography student at the University of Lagos said the trip from Marina to Mile 2 and back was his first. He said the trip was pretty safe and fast as it was done in less than 30 minutes.

Henderson, who said he was among students invited for the ride because they were studying a course on transport, said the time frame of the trip would have been longer, if they were using other means of transport.

“ It’s something I would love to do again, maybe to FESTAC because it is faster and pretty easy. I really enjoyed the experience, I want people to actually use the trains.

“I think awareness is key because many people are not aware of this and are not used to train, some people do use the old train and we have all had the mental picture of old trains, but there is a need for more awareness to tell Nigerians that it is not the same as old train, it’s now more comfortable.

For Mrs Ade Adekeye, a Lagos resident, it was delightful and amazing that Lagos is replicating things that are seen in other climes.

“ I am just looking at what possibilities will start accruing from this intervention. Instead of staying hours in traffic and when people can easily come in by train, it’s a very good intervention, the government has done very well. I hope that in terms of maintenance, we’ll be able to sustain the service. So the governor has done very well. People should learn to use the service properly and not litter the trains.”

A Director of Vehicle Inspection Service (VIO), Akin-George Fashola, said:
“It is a new endeavour for residents of Lagos to move around faster without affecting road traffic and cut down the number of vehicles, and hopefully decongest Lagos roads drastically,”

Lagos State House of Assembly Deputy Speaker, Hon. Eshinloku Sanni Wasiu, who was on the ride said the train system will aid in the ease of movement and transportation within the Lagos metropolitan, especially between Mile 2 and Lagos Island.

He said: “You know that Lagos Island, especially where the terminals are situated, is where you have all organised private sector operators and we have all those people coming to buy goods. So, It will assist commuters to ease the movement of goods and services. It is a big step going forward for Lagos State and its residents.

Managing Director of the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority, Engr Abimbola Akinajo said the test run would be carried out twice weekly over the next two months, and open for Lagosians from all walks of life to board the train and have a feel of its comfort.

According to her, market men and women, artisans, students, members of the media and other professionals are being invited, adding that soon, LAMATA would ask any Nigerians who wish to ride on the train to send in their email address and they turn would be communicated when they would be able to board the train.

Akinajo said full operation will commence in the first week of April as Lagosians are excited that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has delivered on the blue line train service.

She said: “Everybody will benefit, we are going to call students, today the University of Lagos students are on board. We have invited a number of tertiary institutions, and some of them told us they are having examinations, but they would come later, primary school kids, secondary school students, market women, and artisans will be invited. At the final last two weeks, we will put out an email address for all Lagosians to register their interest to get on the train.

“That way, it is open to the public to some level and all those who have registered we will call them. So, there would come a point where we won’t be the one to invite Lagosians to register their interest and we will send them a message that it’s okay for you to come.

“ First of all, you need to understand there is an availability of trains and there is the ability of the system to take people. So, if you look at the station, there is an automatic fare collection system, which can process 250 passengers in one minute. What that means is that we are able to process a lot of passengers by minute on a daily basis. So, the position of this rail system is that for the first phase, we would be able to carry 250,000 passengers a day, that’s with the availability of rolling stock.

“Right now, we have three sets of rolling stock, each of them on one journey can take 2,000 passengers and we have operations that would run from 5:30 am 10:30 or 11: 00p.m.pay and all of that. So we understand the trust of passengers’ demand and we will ensure that the operation responds to passenger’s demand.”

The Permanent Secretary of the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation (M.O.T), Engr. Abdulhafiz Gbolahan Toriola speaking on the issue of sustainability, said the state is ready to ensure that the service continues as the red one will soon commence because the overall plan is to decongest the road by having alternative means of transportation.

“What Lagosians tend to benefit is the fastest means of transport, safe and secure, no traffic, no harassment, and there is comfort and to also decongest the roads,” he added.

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