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Abuja Light Rail Offers Free Rides Until Year-End

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President Bola Tinubu has announced an extension of the free ride period for the Abuja Light Rail, lengthening it from the initial two months proposed by FCT Minister Nyesom Wike to the end of the year. This announcement was made during the inauguration of the Abuja Rail Mass Transit, marking a significant milestone in President Tinubu’s first year in office.

At the launch, President Tinubu, who referred to Minister Wike as “Mr. Projects,” praised him for completing the project on time. He seized the moment to extend the free ride offer from two months to the end of the year, stating, “Our dear landlord and his team, I heard you saying two months free ride. I appeal to you to make it till the end of the year free ride, since today you are not going to charge me. Let me give the people hope and reason to celebrate.”

The President highlighted the government’s dedication to fulfilling its promises, pointing out other achievements in social services and public utilities. Previously, at a Ministerial briefing, the FCT Minister had indicated that the journey from the city center to the airport would take just 20 minutes and had initially offered two months of free rides. He hinted that President Tinubu might extend this period to alleviate the citizens’ burdens in line with the renewed hope agenda.

The Abuja Rail Mass Transit, once fully completed, will encompass six lots spanning approximately 285 km. The project will cover areas such as the Airport, Stadium, Kukwaba, Wupa, Idu, and Bassanjiwa in Lot one, while the remaining lots are yet to commence. The current system includes 12 diesel multiple units, each with a capacity for at least 700 passengers. Each train is designed to make a minimum of 14 trips per day, transporting around 9,800 passengers daily.

The operational lines, Lot 1A from Idu Station to Gbazango and Lot 3 from Metro Station to the Airport, will each run two trains simultaneously every day. This will facilitate the movement of up to 39,200 passengers daily and 980,000 passengers over 25 operational days each month. The Chinese company CCRC, which is overseeing the project, is working with Nexant Consult, an ISO-certified railway consulting firm, to train Nigerians who will eventually manage the operations.

The rail project is expected to ease the burden on commuters, encourage the use of the metro rail system, improve inter-modal connectivity, and reduce transportation costs. The inauguration event was well-attended, with prominent figures such as Vice President Kashim Shettima, Senate President Godswill Akpabio, Speaker of the House of Representatives Tajudeen Abbas, and Minister Nyesom Wike present. Also in attendance were the Minister of Transportation, Senator Saidu Alkali, and the Minister of State for the FCT, Mariya Mahmoud.