Revitalized Abuja Rail Mass Transit: A New Era of Commuting in Nigeria’s Capital

With his camera phone clipped to a tripod, Anowai captured every moment of his experience to share with his followers, showcasing the modern infrastructure built by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC)

ABUJA, June 4 (Xinhua) — As the sleek, electric multiple unit (EMU) trains hummed gently along the tracks, James Anowai, a content creator and YouTuber, could barely contain his excitement.

This was his first-ever train journey, and he was aboard the newly revitalized Abuja Rail Mass Transit (ARMT) in Nigeria’s capital.

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With his camera phone clipped to a tripod, Anowai captured every moment of his experience to share with his followers, showcasing the modern infrastructure built by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).

“Everybody is relaxed. It is very smooth, clean, and, actually, a nice experience. It is something I want to do again, over and over again,” Anowai told Xinhua in an interview, his enthusiasm palpable.

Since its relaunch for commercial operation about a week ago, the ARMT has become a hot topic in local media.

The modern light rail system symbolizes a significant step forward in Abuja’s urban commuting, promising to alleviate traffic congestion and provide a reliable and efficient transportation alternative.

This revitalized service is seen as a beacon of hope amid the economic challenges many residents face in Nigeria’s fast-developing capital city.

During the official relaunch on May 29, President Bola Tinubu announced that rides on the new metro system would be free until the end of the year, a strategic move to encourage residents to adopt this new mode of transport and ease their economic burdens.

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Tinubu, who took a ride on the train with other top officials, described the operational commencement of the Abuja metro line as “a symbolic milestone of enduring progress as a country and in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).” He highlighted the project as a product of collaboration, dedication, and foresight.

“The Abuja Metro was inherited by my administration from my predecessor. It was first commissioned in 2018 for public use,” Tinubu said, emphasizing that his administration prioritized its revitalization to ensure a functional and flourishing FCT with efficient public infrastructure and transportation systems for those who live and work in the city and surrounding communities.

A Modern Infrastructure Boost

The completed 45-km Lot A1 and Lot 3 of the light rail system are part of the larger Abuja rail mass transit project designed to span a total length of 290 km. This project aims to provide intra-city shuttle services while connecting Abuja’s satellite towns to the metropolitan transport network.

The light rail system includes 12 stations, 21 operational offices, 13 bridges, 50 culverts, and nine pedestrian overpasses.

This extensive network is expected to open up new towns and boost economic activities along its corridor, which includes areas such as Gwagwa, Kalgoni, Dei-Dei, Kubwa, Kukwaba, Dasonga, and Asa, among others.

For many passengers, the free ride period has been a much-appreciated relief. Miriam Akpan, a civil servant, expressed her satisfaction with the light rail service, praising its comfort and efficiency.

“It is a fantastic initiative,” she said. “The train is comfortable, and the stations are well-maintained. Now, I can save a lot on transport costs going from my house to the office, and with the satisfaction that this is faster than being stuck in traffic at resumption and closing time.”

Naomi Oboi, a communications specialist, shared her positive experience of using the train from the iconic Abuja Metro Station to the Airport Station, covering a distance of 28 km for an official assignment.

Having used metro trains in Lagos and other parts of the world, Oboi was impressed by the zero-delay boarding and overall quality of the service.

“This is something that, especially with the increase in fuel prices in recent times, would really go a long way to help the average Nigerian, just like me, to make the transportation system very easy and better for us,” she said.

Economic and Social Impact

The introduction of the ARMT is expected to have significant economic and social impacts. The modern infrastructure is not only easing daily commuting woes but also contributing to the overall economic and social well-being of the Nigerian capital.

As the city’s residents adapt to this new system, there is optimism that it will enhance mobility, reduce traffic congestion, and improve the quality of life.

Mustapha Bello, a student at the University of Abuja, expressed his hope that the rail service would be expanded further.

“Abuja could benefit from expansion plans,” he told Xinhua, noting the potential for the rail system to improve commuting experiences and support the city’s growth.

Reflecting on his “very unforgettable journey,” Anowai expressed his hopes for the future of the rail service, wishing to see the light rail extended to Kuje, a low-income suburb of Abuja, where he lives and works in the city center.

“It is just a smooth ride. I do not need to use public transport or drive my vehicle to this location. It has been a nice journey. This is more than an easy life,” he said, adjusting his camera phone and tripod for his next content piece around the metro.

A Collaborative Effort

The successful relaunch of the ARMT is a testament to the collaborative efforts between the Nigerian government and the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.

This partnership has not only delivered a state-of-the-art rail system but also demonstrated the potential of international cooperation in infrastructure development.

The Chinese-made EMU trains, which are now a common sight on Abuja’s metro rail tracks, represent a blend of advanced technology and local needs.

The smooth operation of these trains, coupled with well-secured stations, underscores the high standards maintained throughout the project.

During the commercial operation ceremony, President Tinubu highlighted the importance of such collaborations in achieving progress.

“This is a fruit of collaboration, dedication, progress, and foresightedness,” he said, acknowledging the contributions of all parties involved in bringing the project to fruition.

Future Prospects

Looking ahead, there are high hopes for the further development and expansion of the ARMT. The current infrastructure, which includes a comprehensive network of stations, operational offices, bridges, and pedestrian overpasses, lays a solid foundation for future growth.

Plans to extend the rail service to more satellite towns and integrate it with the national rail line are seen as crucial steps in enhancing the connectivity and efficiency of the transportation system in Abuja.

The positive reception from the public and the media highlights the potential of the ARMT to transform urban commuting in Abuja.

As more residents embrace this new mode of transport, the benefits are expected to multiply, contributing to the overall economic and social development of the city.

Conclusion

The revitalization of the Abuja Rail Mass Transit marks a significant milestone in the development of Nigeria’s capital. With its modern infrastructure, efficient operation, and free rides until the end of the year, the ARMT is set to become an integral part of Abuja’s transportation system.

As residents like James Anowai, Miriam Akpan, Naomi Oboi, and Mustapha Bello continue to experience and share the benefits of the light rail, there is a growing sense of optimism and excitement about the future of urban commuting in Abuja.

The collaborative efforts between the Nigerian government and the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation have resulted in a project that not only meets the current needs of the city but also holds promise for future growth and development.

The ARMT stands as a testament to what can be achieved through dedication, foresight, and international cooperation, offering a beacon of hope and progress for the people of Abuja.

 

This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members

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