• Friday, July 19, 2024
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BusinessDay

Lagos blue-line rail to take 4 hours off travel time between Okoko, Marina

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The light rail (blue-line) system currently being constructed on the Lagos-Badagry corridor will take not less than four hours and twenty minutes off the travel time of people commuting between Okokomaiko in Ojo area of Lagos and Marina (CMS) on Lagos Island.
The rail, which will run with electric multiple unit (EMU) coaches with a total of 13 stations covering a distance of 27.5 kilometres, will do a record time of 20 minutes between Okokomaiko and Marina on commencement of operations, and it has the capacity for 400,000 passengers per day.
The travel time will be a mark departure from what currently obtains where commuters spend upward of four hours to cover same distance on the same route (to and fro) by road. The commuters face a horde of hiccups, ranging from poor driving by commercial bus operators, roadside trading and deplorable state of the road all of which result in gridlock and frustration.
On the back of this expected shorter travel time, analysts foresee an increase in the movement of residents to the Okokomaiko and Agbara axis in their bid to escape high rents in the built-up/ congested areas of Amuwo-Odofin, Festac Town, Jakande Estate (Mile 2) and Maza-Maza.
“House rents in the outskirt areas of Okokomaiko, Agbara, Ojo, Ajangbadi are still relatively cheaper compared to Festac Town, Amuwo Odofin, Mile 2 and the adjourning areas. If people see a cheaper and faster means of transportation not subject to the usual gridlock, it is only natural that they will take advantage and move to those areas knowing that they can conveniently board the train to go to work on the island,” said Paul Ojenagbon, a property consultant.
According to Ojenagbon, this drift to Okokomaiko and Agbara would likely open a new window for investors in properties and estate developers to invest in new residential estates along the Lagos-Badagry corridor since ease of transportation is key development driver in any economy. Some of the existing residential estates in the Okokomaiko /Badagry axis include Agbara Estate, Honeydew Estate, Suncity Estate, Sparklight Estate and Teju Royal Garden.
With the population of Ojo and Badagry put at about 1.5 million by the parallel census conducted by the state government during the national census of 2006 (which by now may have doubled), the likely influx of residents to these areas will mean increased demand for housing which will need to be met.
Governor Babatunde Fashola whose government initiated the project is hopeful that his predecessor in office will complete and hand over the rail system to the public. The Fashola led government had projected completing the first phase of the rail which is between the National
Theatre and Mile Two (awarded in 2010) by end of 2014. But this is now impossible as Fashola will step down on May 29, this year.
BusinessDay checks show that work on the project currently stands at less than 50 percent completion stage. The tracks had been laid from Orile-Iganmu to Mile Two. The contractor, CCECC, a Chinese construction firm, has completed the overhead rail tracks from Orile to the National Art Theatre – gradually moving towards Marina through Ijora-Olopa.
Fashola told a gathering of reporters on Thursday, December 31, 2014 that much as he desired to see the first phase of the rail system delivered, his administration had a challenge of funding. He was quick to add that a monumental project of this nature may not necessarily be completed by the government that initiated it, citing the South African modern rail initiated by Thabo Mbeki and completed by Jacob Zuma. “What is important is continuity,” said the governor.
He said that the electric coaches to be deployed could last 50 years subject to maintenance, describing it as “enduring infrastructure” that will deliver value for money and change the face of public transportation in Nigeria’s economic hub. He pointed to funding challenge as the major reason for the delay, but assured that the government after he leaves office will continue with the project.
The blue line is one of the seven rail lines captured in the Lagos urban rail network and inter-modality public transportation master plan, a result of intensive researches, studies and analyses of future transportation demands and needs of the state. The network is geared towards integrating with planned and existing water transport and BRT routes.
The other routes are the red line from Agbado to Marina via Iddo and Muritala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA); the green line from Marina to Lekki (airport); the yellow line from Otta to Iddo and the purple line from Redeemed to Ojo. There is also the orange line from Redeemed to Marina and the brown line from Mile 12 to Marina.
In this layout, there are the North-South corridor between Agbado and Iddo along the Nigerian Railway corridor; the eastern corridor to serve the Lekki to Epe axis; and the western corridor to serve the Mile2 – Okokomaiko axis. Others are Marina to Lekki axis, Redeemed to Ojo, Otta to Iddo, Redeemed to Marina and Mile 12 to Marina route.