40years After, Lagos Mass Transit Work Still In Progress

(Last Updated On: 2021-11-20)

Road traffic congestion is severe across many parts of the Lagos metropolis. Absence of alternatives to roads, lack of comfortable and reliable bus services, encroachment of market trading activities on the road, lack of enforcement of parking controls, lack of adequate road traffic management systems, and poor road surface conditions are contributing factors to hitch-free movement in and around the state.

Commuters suffered inconveniences on a daily basis moving from one point to another across the Lagos metropolis. In the beginning, sometime in March 1974, the state government set up a Commission of Consulting Engineers to produce a Traffic Improvement  Plan for Lagos Metropolitan Area.

Two years later, another group, commissioned by the Federal Military Government, prepared a Transportation Study for the same Lagos Metropolitan Area. This was in August 1976.

The first commission was assigned the task of producing a short-term traffic improvement plan for Metropolitan Lagos. The second panel was asked to investigate existing transport conditions, estimate future travel demands based on demographic data and recommend a future transport system incorporating highway and public transport facilities for implementation by the year 1990.

Many valuable recommendations were made by the Commissions for solving the problems of public transportation which they identified. One of them is the provision of a rapid transit system running North to South and East to West of Metropolitan Lagos.

The State Government Admin of Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande on Saturday 29th August 1981 gathered people from far and near in Lagos for the groundbreaking ceremony of the Lagos Mass Transit Project tagged: Lagos Metroline. Had it been the project eventually become a reality, it would have been the first in Africa. But, it was not to be due to the military’s sack of the Second Republic.

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Similarly, based on a detailed study carried out over 1992 to 1994 by the state government under the ‘Mass Transit and Transport System Management Program for the Lagos Metropolitan Area,’ there was an indicator showing the economic and financial viability of rail mass transit in Lagos. Thereafter, financial and economic analysis was carried out to estimate the variable cost per passenger kilometre.

The cost of the light rail system was annualized based on a life of 30 years, a real financial interest rate of 6%, and an economic discount rate of 12%. The interpretation is that the cost of transportation by light rail within the metropolis would be less than 50% of the cost by road. Overall, the light rail system would save millions of time being wasted by commuters in traffic hold-ups on the road and there would be a reduction in congestion that has become part of everyday life in Lagos.

Lagosians received the news with joy and look forward to the time the mass transit system will become operational in Lagos. Then came former governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) who is 2008, started a movement on the construction of the Blue Line of the two lines planned to first be put in place among seven lines proposed by the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA).

The Blue Line planned for completion in 2011 is yet to be completed. Still, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has embarked on the construction of the Red Line a couple of months ago.

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We commend Governor Sanwo-Olu for not abandoning the uncompleted Blue Line Rail project left behind by former Governor Babatunde Fashola and his successor, former governor Akinwunmi Ambode. While awaiting the completion of both the Blue and Red Line in the first quarter of 2022 as announced by the Governor recently.

We call on the contractors to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the Light Rail system becomes a reality in Lagos 40 years after the groundbreaking ceremony of the Lagos Metroline Project conducted by the first civilian Governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande, in 1981.


Beyond the completion date given by Governor Sanwo-Olu, his administration must demonstrate beyond doubt that it is determined to make the first quarter completion period of both the Blue and Red Line a reality so that his name and that of his administration will not be forgotten in the history of Lagos.

Quote:  “Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande, on Saturday 29th August 1981, gathered people from far and near in Lagos for the groundbreaking ceremony of the Lagos Mass Transit Project tagged: Lagos Metroline. Had it been the project eventually become a reality, it would have been the first in Africa. But, it was not to be due to the military sack of the Second Republic.”


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