The Lahore Metro or Lahore Rapid Mass Transit System (LRMTS) (Urdu: لاہور میٹرو) is an under construction rapid transit system (metro train system) for Lahore, the second largest city of Pakistan. First proposed in 1991, funding was not secured, and in 2012 it was abandoned by the Punjab government in favour of the more cost–effective Lahore Metro Bus System which opened in February 2013. However, the Punjab Government decided to restart development on the Lahore Metro as a $1.6 billion project with Chinese assistance. The Orange Line, which will be 27.1-kilometre (16.8 mi) long (25.4 kilometres (15.8 mi) of which will be elevated), will be the first line of the project and is in under construction.
Map of Lahore showing major roads, railways & airports (click to enlarge)
The system was first proposed in 1991 and was updated in 1993 by Lahore Traffic and Transport Studies, funded by the World Bank. The project was subsequently shelved.
In 2005, the Transport Department of Pakistan revisited the project and carried out a feasibility study and in 2007, the Asian Development Bank provided PKR1 billion to conduct a study on the project. An 82 km (51 mi) long rail network with 60 stations was to be constructed in four separate phases as a part of the project. The first phase involved construction of a 27 km (17 mi) km railway line called green line which would include an 11.6 km (7.2 mi) underground network. This line would carry 250,000–300,000 passengers after construction. The construction was expected to start in 2008 and complete in 2010. However, the new Pakistani government in 2008, shifted its priorities to other projects.
In June 2010, Malaysia based Scomi International proposed a US$1.15 billion monorail–based alternative to LRMTS. However, the project was not approved as the Chinese government agreed to loan the LRMTS US$1.8 billion. The infrastructural investment required in LRMTS was US$61.9 million per km which was higher than the average range of US$13–50 million per km for similar projects. However, the Delhi Metro was built at a cost of $2 billion for 60 km which is equivalent to $33.3 million per km and depending LRMTS's total cost of either $1.6 billion or $1.8 billion, the LRMTS will be $21.3 million to $24 million which is in range for similar projects as the loan is provided not just for the "orange line".
In 2014, development on the Lahore Metro was revived by the Punjab Government as a $1.6 billion rapid transit project to be built with Chinese assistance. The 27.1-kilometre (16.8 mi) Orange Line (Lahore Metro) will be constructed first. The Orange Line (Lahore Metro) will be 27.1-kilometre (16.8 mi) long, of which 25.4 kilometres (15.8 mi) will be elevated. The service will initially projected benefit around 250,000 passengers a day. The capacity will be increased to 500,000 passengers a day by 2025. Shahbaz Sharif on the occasion said like the Metro Bus Service, the metro train would also be run in other cities after Lahore.