Monday, February 11, 2013

Ropeways Transport floats N81bn Lagos Cable Car mass transit system

Ropeways Transport Limited is investing $500 million (about N81 billion) to launch a cable car mass urban transit system in the nation’s commercial capital, Lagos. The cable car transit system, the first in the quest in Nigeria to provide commuters affordable, safe, timely and stress-free mode of transportation, particularly in urban centres like Lagos, is being floated by a company owned by Dapo Olumide, former managing director of Virgin Nigeria Airlines; Yemi Osinbajo, former attorney-general and commissioner for justice, Lagos State and Yemi Ogunbiyi, proprietor, Tanus Communications Limited. Already, Ropeways Transport Limited has signed of a 30-year Franchise Agreement with the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) and the Lagos State Government for the execution of the project. Under the terms of the agreement, Ropeways Transport will this November, begin the construction of towers, stations and connecting network cables along various routes covered in the first phase of the project, namely, Ijora – Iddo, Iddo – Adeniji, Apapa – Oluwole, Oluwole – Adeniji, Adeniji – Obalende, Obalende – Falomo, and Falomo – Victoria Island. The project is expected to be fully completed and commissioned by early 2015. The transit system when completed will create about 500 direct jobs, while commuters will pay between N200 and N300 per trip. The African Development Bank is a co-financier of the project. Dapo Olumide ,chief executive officer of Ropeways Transport Limited, who spoke in Lagos, said the Lagos cable car transit system would provide an alternative means of mass transportation in the city and help ease the current transportation difficulties. He added that it would restore dignity to commuting because the current situation hampers economic development within the city and negatively impacts the quality of life of its residents. “By complementing existing transport modes, the Lagos Cable Car Transit System will play its part in reducing the traffic congestion in the city” he said. According to him, studies show that Lagos will become the world’s third largest city with 25million inhabitants by 2015, with approximately 12 million daily passenger movements and trips in the Lagos Metropolitan Area, set to increase at a rate of six per cent per annum. “The existing metropolitan highway infrastructure is severely constrained, with journeys to and from work within the city regularly exceeding three hours. In addition, studies carried out in 2009 on vehicle registration show that an additional 200,000 vehicles are registered annually in Lagos State. This equates to 222 vehicles per kilometre of road in Lagos, which by far outweighs the national average of just 11 vehicles per kilometer of road, with vehicles estimated to contribute more than 70 per cent of the air pollution in Lagos,” he said. These problems, he said, could be effectively eliminated with this new technology. “Presently, there is a need to ameliorate the existing congestion on the three bridges connecting Lagos Mainland to Lagos Island and to provide a link between Apapa and the Central Business District on Lagos Island, and also to link Victoria Island with the Central Business District of Lagos Island. These are what we hope to achieve with the launch of the cable transit system,” Olumide said. He described the cable car system as one of the safest means of transport worldwide. According to him, a 2009 study by the Vancouver Metropolitan Transport Agency in Canada determined that passengers were 20,000 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident in a vehicle than in a cable car. According to him, when completed, the Lagos cable car transit system would incorporate several standard safety features, including auxiliary drives and hydraulic brakes to prevent passengers being stranded, lightening protection on towers, ropes and stations, as well as solar panels on each cabin roof, to provide power for cabin interior and exterior lighting. There will also be passenger monitoring with CCTV and audio communication links and passenger address systems. The project will be powered by several sources namely, IPP’s, dual-fired primary power turbines and dual-fired back up power turbines, with sufficient number of static inverters to provide 30 minutes of backup power. The Project uses Doppelmayr’s proprietary technology. Founded in 1892, Doppelmayr is a Swiss/Austrian specialist company that manufactures chairlifts, cable cars, gondolas, surface tows for ski and amusement parks, as well as urban transport systems. Doppelmayr cable car technology has successfully been used in locations like Merida, Venezuela; Roosevelt Island, New York, USA; Caracas, Venezuela; Medellin, Columbia; Portland, Oregon, USA; and Tlemcen, Algeria. Others are Constantine, Algeria; Koblenz, Germany; Ngong Ping, Hong Kong; Sentosa Island, Singapore and Sky Rail, Australia. The company is also presently executing similar projects in Bosporus, Turkey; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; La Paz, Bolivia and recently in London, England.

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