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FUTURE LAGOS | Catching a Train in Lagos!




‘Lagosians either have or aspire to have large cars that can withstand flooded roads and large potholes.’

eko rail

 At present there is no train service that serves the masses in Lagos but the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) and Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) are changing this.

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by Olamide Udoma

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If you are envisioning New York or London or even Paris, stop right there. There is actually no train service that serves the masses in Lagos. Public transport is not easily accessible nor the most safe form of transport and this is why Lagosians either have or aspire to have large cars that can withstand flooded roads and large potholes.

Both the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) and Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) are trying to improve the existing city rail infrastructure and introduce mass transit rail to Lagos State.

This year NRC introduced new air conditioned trains to serve Lagos and its suburbs as well as new shuttle services. This has increased the number of trips daily especially during peak hours. Even though, the new shuttle services cost more than double the amount of the regular services, which are still in operation, this is a welcomed addition to commuters. It is unknown how many more people have started to use the service since inception of the improvements to the service, so the impact is yet to be calculated.

LAMATA are also making giant leaps towards improving movement within Lagos. Because the existing rail infrastructure is managed and governed by NRC, under the Federal Government, LAMATA, under the State Government, developed a transport plan that includes a rail service. This has meant designing and building a new rail system, Eko Rail, that will serve the expanding Lagos. This is being done in phases and the first phase, a light rail service (Blue Line), is being built above the city and will be completed in 2015. The Managing Director of LAMATA, Dr. Dayo Mobereola, recently said that at least 400, 000 commuters would be transported by the Lagos Light Rail project on the Mile 2 axis daily when completed.

Looking at the videos below, both LAMATA and the NRC have a long way to go in providing reliable and safe public transport to the population of Lagos but for the plans being made we should see a different Lagos in years to come.

 

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Olamide Udoma is a researcher, writer and filmmaker holding degrees in BSc Architecture, MA Design and MPhil Infrastructure Management. Olamide has worked in London, South Africa and Nigeria with various organisations focusing on transport management, slum upgrading and housing rights in urbanising African cities. At Our Future Cities NPO, she is the Lagos manager and editor.