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CPCS sets Lagos Blue Line Rail up for success

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CPCS contributed in various ways to the Blue Line Rail project since 2008. In 2023, Lagos inaugurated its first 13-km metro rail service, making it easier for Lagosians to commute.

Key points:

  • CPCS helped develop the Blue Line Rail project concept in 2008.

  • CPCS also crafted the project’s implementation plan.

  • The first 13 km of the Blue Line Rail began its operations in 2023 and now moves up to 250 000 passengers daily. When phase 2 is completed, the entire rail line will stretch 27 km and go up to 500,000 passengers.

  • Fast forward to 2023, the project stayed true to the blueprint, and CPCS continues to provide expertise to the rail project.

CPCS sets Lagos Blue Line Rail up for success

CPCS began working on the Lagos Blue Line Rail project in 2008. This included developing a conceptual design, conducting a feasibility study, and developing a guide and contract design.

CPCS even designed a concept for how to develop the urban rail transit system, running from East to West, within the median of the Badagry Expressway.

Simple, yet innovative for its time, the implementation plan consisted of two phases:

  1. A design-build component, to be implemented by a contractor procured through international competitive bidding.

  2. An operations and management contract, also to be procured via competitive tenders.

“Our two-component implementation plan was innovative at the time since both steps were typically handled by a single company. Now the two-component process is more standard, particularly in the African context where decoupling the development helps mitigate a myriad of developments risks,” says Philip Asante, Vice President, Anglophone and Lusophone Africa at CPCS.

Despite delays caused by shifting priorities and government changes, the state government of Lagos has continued to rely on the original concept and implementation plan CPCS delivered.

CPCS helps Blue Line Rail progress through challenges

With experience in more than 40 African countries and expertise in rail infrastructure projects, CPCS was well-equipped to tackle this challenging project. Following our initial involvement in 2008, the Lagos State turned to CPCS again in 2012 to advance the project and find the operator. CPCS continued to provide advisory services to advance the project at key junctions.

Construction of the Lagos Blue Line Rail has its fair share of challenges, including a collapse in commodity prices affecting Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings, a global downturn, the COVID-19 pandemic, among others. The Lagos State government also underwent several transitions, which shifted priorities, impacted funding, and access to other resources.

But fast forward to September 4, 2023, the first phase of the project, consisting of 13 km extending from Lagos Marina to Mile 2, began transporting passengers.

  • Ridership: The first phase can transport up to 250,000 passengers daily. This marks a pivotal step towards addressing transportation challenges in Lagos.
Passengers getting off Blue Line in Lagos, Nigeria. Photo credit: Benson
Passengers getting off Blue Line in Lagos, Nigeria. Photo credit: Benson Ibeabuchi/Bloomberg

Better transportation solutions for Lagos residents

Lagosians have long faced some of the highest transportation costs, as well as long commuting times. The State also has one of the worst traffic gridlocks in the world, with commuters spending many avoidable hours on the road, resulting in a loss of significant productive and personal time.

The Blue Rail Line is intended to be electric rapid transit line run by the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority. The rail line aims to allow commuters to spend less time travelling in the area by avoiding traffic jams. This is a better transportation solution to offer relief to Lagos people, connecting them to what matters more quickly and economically.

“The Blue Line is a better solution to connect Lagosians to their destinations more efficiently. It’ll significantly improve the commuting experience in the city,” says Philip.

With the first 13 km in operation, a commute that would’ve taken two hours in traffic will be reduced to about 15 minutes. Once the project is completed, the end-to-end journey time will be about 35 minutes.

Next steps for the Blue Line Rail project

Phase 2 will extend 14 km, from Mile 2 to Okokomaiko. When completed, the entire rail line will stretch 27 km and transport up to 500,000 passengers daily.

The project is now moving at a pace to secure the funding required for its completion. CPCS remains involved in the project, helping the State find a long-term operator. As the Blue Line Rail project continues to progress, Lagos residents will have wider access to better transportation.

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