Home Nigeria Lagos Opens Second Rail Line to Ease the World’s Worst Traffic

Lagos Opens Second Rail Line to Ease the World’s Worst Traffic

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bloomberg.com

Nigeria’s Lagos State opened a second light-rail line to ease gridlock in the nation’s commercial hub and most populous city that’s notorious for traffic jams.

President Bola Tinubu on Thursday inaugurated the 37-kilometer (23-mile) Red Line, which stretches from the northern suburb of Agbado down to the coastal area of Oyingbo, near the city’s central business district of Victoria Island.

“All the infrastructure is completed and ready for public use,” Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said at the launch. The trains will run 37 trips daily and transport about 500,000 passengers when fully operational, he said.

The facility, built by China Civil Engineering Construction Corp., reinforces the state’s plan to ease movements of people and goods along waterways, roads and rail. The government in September last year started 13-kilometer rail service known as the Blue Line, which connects Mile 2 — near the Lagos seaport — to Marina in the heart of the city, helping cut travel time to 25 minutes from three hours. It started operating 12 years after it first planned to start ferrying riders.

Lagos State is home to more than 20 million residents but occupies a territorial land area of 351,861 hectares — less than the smallest US state of Rhode Island, which measures about 400,000 hectares and is home to about 1 million people.

The human congestion — as well as poor road and transport infrastructure — has led to Lagos having the world’s worst traffic, according to data from Numbeo, a crowd-sourced online database. The transport gridlock costs the administration about 4 trillion naira ($2.5 billion) annually because of lost work-hours as commuters spend a total of 14.1 million hours a day in traffic, according to a 2021 report by Lagos-based Danne Institute of Research.

Lagos First Metro Line Opens to Tackle City Gridlock
Passengers on the Lagos Blue Line Rail in Lagos, Nigeria, on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023.Photographer: Benson Ibeabuchi/Bloomberg

The government has signed agreement with the CCECE to link the two services, according to the governor. More than 4.2 million residents have purchased electronic cards required to board the public road, marine and rail transport systems, he said.

— With assistance from Anthony Osae-Brown

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