Mauritius’ Metro Express is the first investment in train travel in the country since the old train lines were closed in the 1960s. The Light Rail Transit’s (LRT) website says the Metro Express aims to reduce the use of private motor vehicles as well as offer the Mauritian public an environmentally responsible alternative public transport system. The service offers cutting edge technology, and provides the commuting public with a significant time-saving alternative. They add that all Metro Express stations are furnished with facilities that encourage the use of bicycles, promoting more sustainable initiatives. The LRT’s main goal is the reduction of road traffic reduction, which the authorities say without it, the direct and incidental losses from road congestion would have continued costing the Mauritian economy around MUR 10 billion ($229 million) every year.
Several sections of the LRT are already running, and in his 2022-23 Budget Speech, Finance Minister Renganaden Padayachy announced that the Metro Express will be fully operational on the Port-Louis – Curepipe corridor, as well as between Rose Hill and Reduit before the end of this year. The Metro Express Ltd will also implement photovoltaic farms at its Richelieu Depot, at Barkly, as well as at Ebene Recreational Park to cater to its electricity needs. Trains powered by clean electricity! The government is also moving to increase the penetration of locally generated renewable energy. They have a target of 60% energy from renewable sources by 2030.
The country is about 60 km long and 45 km wide and has an area of about 2000 km2. Mauritius has a population of about 1.37 million. A light rail system is perfect for such a small island nation. Mauritius is also trying to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles. From 1st July 2022, all hybrid and electric vehicles are now duty-free in Mauritius.
According to the International Rail Journal, Phase 1 of the Metro Express, which runs for 12.4 km from Victoria in Port Louis to Rose Hill, began commercial operation in January 2020. The 2.6 km Phase 2A from Rose Hill to Quatre Bornes opened in June 2021, and the 3.6 km Phase 2B to Curepipe opened on May 8th of this year. The 6.5 km Phase 2C, which extends the line from Phoenix to Curepipe, was opened by Mauritius’ Prime Minister, Mr Pravind Jugnauth, last month. By September 2020, the Metro Express had already celebrated the milestone of ferrying 2 million passengers. By the end of last year, the Metro Express had celebrated the milestone of having ferried 5 million passengers. 19 stations of the planned 22 stations on the 26 km light rail project are now operational. It’s great to see more electrified urban rail projects coming up in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). These light rail projects have been proposed in several countries in the region. We hope to see more of them becoming a reality in the near future.
Images from Metro Express Limited
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Source: Clean Technica