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Urban Transport and Development

Bus Rapid Transit System in Lagos (Nigeria)

Table of contents
0. Abstract 1. Introduction to different mass transit systems 2. Bus Rapid Transit systems features in the context of developing cities 3. Factors that determine system’s suitability 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Costs Design and Development factors Performance Impacts Introduction Design development Characteristics of the system System cost, development and performance System analysis Further research

4. A case of study, Lagos BRT-Lite

5. Bibliography


3 . The most critical characteristics as system costs. Introduction to different mass transit systems The improvement of living standards of people is dependent on the ability to communicate and to trade and transact with ease among themselves and with other people. It was found that there have been an important household spent decrease in transportation. one of the most important issues when studying urban transportation is its sustainability: it has to improve accessibility while avoiding social. mobility. environmental and economic disruptions. Transport is unique in national development because it contributes to success or failure of other sectors of the economy. development and performance are analyzed and their impact estimated in percentages. as it implies faster access to different places. Abstract Urban mobility in developing countries implies a big challenge but has big potential to improve economic development. school. Therefore. Therefore. Chiwona In any part of the globe people have daily necessities such as go to work. its growing may lead to critical problems. shopping or seek medical attention. as well as a drop in CO2 emissions. This paper analyzes the success and further improvements of the Bus Rapid Transit system in Lagos (Nigeria) through a comprehensive and qualitative study of the features that make this system different from other BRTs in other developing countries. A macro economical analysis shows that there is large potential to improve economical and environmental impact of the system by changing fuel sources. On the other hand. design. In most of the cases the distance between their house and these services requires a large amount of time to get there walking. when motorized mobility is not controlled. 1. Peter H. by 2050 is expected that in the developing world the passenger-kilometer travelled by car increases more than five times.0. enables economic development. As we can see in the graph below.

SOx. the potential benefits of any of them over current low-quality services are:        Reduced travel times Increased economic productivity and employment by a more reliable access throughout the city Reduced accidents and illness Increased civic pride and sense of community Reduced emissions of pollutants related to human health (CO. particulates. NOx. etc). 2005 and 2050 When a city is looking for a way to improve people’s mobility. Each of these systems has intrinsic and contextual characteristics and limitations. designed and executed within the specific reality of the project.Figure 1: Passenger travel by region and mode. suburban rail. elevated rail transit. including densification of major corridors Delivery of mass transit system within one political term These benefits must be pursued in any renewed public transportation system. Underground metro. As this paper focuses on developing countries. an appropriate alternative that is working in several and different places is the Bus Rapid Transit systems. but depending of the solution adopted the costs and outputs will vary significantly. CO2) and noise levels More sustainable urban form. that if are well studied. 4 . there are several mass transit options that must be taken into account as: (Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). Light Rail Transit (LRT). and the reasons will be studied below.

and cost-effective urban mobility. Bus Rapid Transit systems features in the context of developing cities To achieve a better understanding of the applicability of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems as appropriate technology within the general context of cities in developing countries. Entry to system restricted to prescribed operators (closed system) Existence of an integrated network of routes and corridors. comfortable. located in the median rather than in the exterior lane. The main features that the BRT Planning Guide provides to be considered a “full” BRT system are:        Avoid mix traffic by segregated busways or bus-only roadways. with special stations to integrate trunk routes and feeder services. the authors provide a table that classifies bus-based transit systems according to their accomplishment of “full” BRT features. 5 .2. The aim of this system is to provide a car-competitive transit service similar to rail-based transit systems but at remarkable lower cost (Lloyd Wright). Bus Rapid Transit is a bus-based mass transit system that delivers fast. comfortable. secure and weather-protected Stations that provide level access between the platform and vehicle floor Pre-board fare collection Distinctive marketing identity for system In the BRT Planning Guide. we should start by defining what the characteristics of this system are. with fare-integration between them Stations that are convenient.

higher-quality bus services. in order to avoid uncomfortable public transit. Both of them have the aim of avoid traffic mix. a deep explanation of each of those features will show their impact on the global performance of the system:  Use of busways (physically segregated lanes) in stead of bus lanes (reserved surface without physical segregation). For these reasons people are looking forward to be able to afford their own car or motorcycle. and in the developing context. Therefore. as well as urban mobility problems are growing fast. what improves flow of the public system (no congestion) and private vehicles (absence of some of the slow vehicles that make multiple stops) The difference is that violation of non-physically segregated lines occur frequently when vigilance systems are poor. has been proved to be much more effective. in each specific context the most suitable solution may fall into any of the previous categories. can suppose a significant improvement to the mobility of residents in most cities. Now. Therefore.Figure 2: Bus-based system classification Most of the current transit services in developing countries are currently performing within the groups of informal transit services or low-quality conventional bus services. This is associated to long waits. inconvenience of stations. without meet the “full” BRT requirements. the technology and expenses required to maintain an effective surveillance systems shows the preference for busways 6 . family expenses in motorization. Taking into account this general context. vehicles overload and lack of safety.

7 . and removing biases and pressure from lobbies that may end getting profit from the introduction of BRT. Giving to BRT system an identity that shows its difference with low-quality busbased system will help its potential acceptability among most of the social groups. being difficult to move from one to another. reducing their wish to own a private vehicle Accessibility to the vehicle is always an issue that must be taken into account in the democratization of the system Boarding time can be reduced by simple mechanisms as pre-board fare collection or multiple vehicle doors. With high quality stations passengers comfort will increase. Most of these problems can be solved by a deep analysis in a local basis. As important as understand the principal features that may make BRT system succeed is to know its main limitations. Unconnected routes segregate cities into different areas.      In a context where informal or low-quality sector has a big presence. allowing these vehicles to use segregated lines would decrease the effectiveness of the system The final aim of any mass transportation system should be a democratization of the public transport. These are:         Political will Existing operators Institutional biases Lack of information Institutional capacity Technical capacity Financing Geographical / physical limitations.

Therefore.9 350 Costs Thus. physical/geographical conditions and design requirements. schedule reliability.6 40. 3.4 24 16 Cost (US$ million/km) 0. The main conclusion that we can obtain from this is that with the same capital investment BRT systems cover larger city area.5 1.8 50 73. When complex infrastructures as tunnels or elevated structures are required. fuel and maintenance. the initial investment is limited and depends on several factors such as labor. Several mass transit systems give an order of magnitude of the capital costs of different systems: CITY TYPE OF SYSTEM Taipei BRT Lagos BRT-lite Bogotá (phase I) BRT Tunis LRT Los Angeles (gold line) LRT Kuala Lumpur Elevated rail Bangkok Elevated rail Las Vegas Monorail Mexico (Line B) Metro rail London (Jubilee line) Metro rail Table 1: Capital costs of different systems Segregated lines (km) 57 14.7 5. Operating costs The costs of operating a mass transit system depend mainly on vehicle amortization. and the goal of larger accessibility is better achieved. In developed world is more popular LRT because of high labor cost (35 – 70%) therefore the fact that just a person can drive several cars at once allows to 8 . understand their necessities are basic for the project’s success. Factors that determine system’s suitability BRT systems had approached the design phase from a costumer’s needs perspective.4 101. Indeed.3. there are several factors that must be taken into account. the cost and technology required increase a lot.3 13. so more people have access to mass transit.3 37. labor. we can see that capital cost per kilometer of BRT systems suppose a fraction of any other systems price.3 40 30 23 29 23 6. possible routes and quality.1 Capital Costs Developing cities does not have access to unlimited lending. In order to achieve the best from these characteristics. Transit system’s usage will depend on fare levels.

in developing context. Rail vehicles amortization costs are around three times more expensive than for bus. it has been proved that most of the BRT systems in developing countries are working without subsidies. and makes concessions easier. Therefore. On the other hand. so. 9 . in developed countries. Also. Some of them have been completed in 12-24 months of planning and the same duration for construction. BRT duration from start to design to beginning of operation is significantly shorter than rail-based systems. long construction time can lead to traffic problems.000 passengers / hour / direction in Bogotá or 35. Comparing the different possibilities. but it is still able to achieve capacities as large as 45. This attracts the private sector. 3.000 passengers in Bogotá and 196.000 in Sao Paulo.000 passengers / hour / direction. only in high density corridors they may offer a cost-effective alternative to BRT systems. Also. capacity to move a large amount of people is a key factor of an appropriate system. Therefore. even some of them give profits while maintaining an affordable fare.2 Design and Development factors Planning and implementation time    Political will Existing operators Institutional biases As we pointed out in the limitation factors.000 in Sao Paulo. the amount of people that these BRTs serve daily is around 1. In this sense.300. as well as government save money that may be expended on other factors that play an outstanding role in development such as education or health care. BRT cannot compete with metro systems. the largest peak capacities are achieved by metro systems: Sao Paulo 60. Passenger capacity In developing countries cities have high population densities and the proportion of people without private vehicle that depend on public transit is large. projects that require long time may not succeed because of changes in government or interest groups pressure. existing conditions and biases may be a hindrance in the development of the new system. businesses loses and so on. Thus. wages are less than 20% of operating costs and more employment allows more opportunities to achieve social equity.considerable savings.

It is needed a large scale to operate economically. because of operationally vulnerability to street events. it allows flexibility and building process linked to city’s growth process. There are systems from medium size cities. BRT does not always pretend to be a final solution to city’s transit system. Moreover. As the construction works are similar to a regular road. etc) Scalability Economies-of-scale are intimately related with rail-based systems. to achieve competitive capacity. BRT systems have been adopted by all-sizes cities as main or supplementary transportation system. limited stop and express) Short station dwell times (pre-board fare collection. 10 . Otherwise. The reasons why Bogotá’s BRT is able to achieve these outstanding statistics are:     Use articulated vehicles 160 passengers Stations with multiple stopping bays Multiple permutations of routing options (local. a feeder service. With rail-based systems tunneling and rails laying are difficult and costly to change. a precedent to future rail system or it can act as principal mass transit service. Their capacity is lower than 13. and they would need be segregated into a metro-like system. System flexibility Costumer preferences are not always well predicted in the design phase. It may act as extension of an existing metro system. and the construction of small and adaptable segments is not feasible. to megacities as big as Sao Paulo (20. several doors.000 passengers / hour / direction. LRT systems are not able to achieve these peak period capacities. and once the system is working changes are needed to best manage the mobility. but BRT flexibility allows accommodating changes quickly and at relatively low monetary price.8 million).On the other hand.

So.3. Safety Segregated lanes reduce potential accidents. LRT and metros have excellent reliability in comparison with more conventional transit systems. more people will profit from it. In order to achieve successful transfer is important to avoid long physical distances. BRT. low wages make from BRT a system capable of work without subsides and at affordable fees. the advantage of BRT and LRT is less out-of-vehicle time due to more accessibility to stations because they are more spread and distance from platform to street is generally smaller than metro systems. waiting times are psychologically perceived longer than on vehicle times. Moreover. Otherwise. As spread the system is. As metro and elevated rail achieve commercial speeds around twice larger than surface systems. while they are really complex in rail-based systems. an easy transfer between neighborhood feeder services and trunk-line services is determinant. their in-vehicle time is smaller. In developing countries.3 Affordability Performance The price that costumers have to pay to use the system is related to operational cost and level of subsidies. long waiting periods and any monetary cost. Integration A key point in a good transit system is the ability to move people from neighborhoods around the whole city. what will incline costumers to try to get a private vehicle. Travel time / speed The factors that sum in the time expended in a journey are in-vehicle and out-of-vehicle travel time. Another advantage of BRT is that freedom of movement allows performance of express and local lines cheap and easily. unprotected areas. 11 . as it was said before. but BRT and LRT have more possibilities than metros because of the intersections and the drivers that are not used to segregated transit. Reliability Unreliable service may create personal stress because of the uncertainty of transit performance.

overall when we are focusing on people that may have an alternative. etc) than rail-based systems (most of them do not produce any emissions). Noise levels produced by transit vehicle are also high. these levels are smaller than regular buses systems. 3. Environmental The impact depends on how many people use transit systems in stead of private vehicle. transfer between the same systems is more likely to accomplish these characteristics. Another factor is that BRT systems may attract local investment from equipment providers. and as said before. PM. BRT can be driven by electricity (as trolleys). CO. but most of the time are run by natural gas or diesel fuels.4 Economic The employment generated during design and construction phases involve a larger percentage of the budget in bus than metro systems. the final result is noise reduction. The same happen in operation phase as people needed to drive buses is larger than to drive trains. Therefore. because bus fabrication can be economically scaled. In developing countries. BRT allows the use of different fuels while rail-based systems usually are electrify. less conflict with traffic and smoother operations. where the cost of machinery is much larger. in developing countries buses usually take the role of feeder system. but if a considerable amount of people switch from own vehicle to transit. as well as the environmental performance of them. while train manufacture is more difficult to be scaled. at a local scale BRT generates more pollution (NOx. but new BRTs are creating a modern and unique identity. Image / status It is a factor that should bee kept in mind.Therefore. Therefore. Traditionally. But with stringent emission levels. 12 Impacts . to know the comparative environmental effect of both systems we need to know the environmental issues related with the electricity production in each specific context. the marginal benefits of create employment must be fairly considered. rail-based systems have maintained a better image than bus systems. this means that they do not localize emissions (better for urban pollution) but contribute to regional and global emissions through energy generation.

It is achieved in LRT and metro systems by strong subsidies. BRT and LRT systems may be analyzed together in this point versus metro systems.Social impacts A key point in any public mass transportation system is the access to all income groups. to move the same amount of people with public mass transit the amount of space required is far less than by private vehicles. 13 . So. Also. by reducing the number of lines. The construction of segregated lines is usually viewed as bad for traffic congestion but this argument is refuted by:  Public transit and private vehicles have different movement patterns. drivers’ willingness to use that specific street will be lower. the presence of vigilance and a professional environment. This has benefits from the municipality point of view as the cost in electricity and water connections decreases and there is better access and utilization of the system. as the driver can see every point. in most of the cases. This is the ideal scenario. If besides affordable the system is also a high-quality one. it has the potential to provide a meeting point for all income sectors. but BRT systems are able to achieve it. so their installation does not affect to private vehicle drivers. Bogotá’s TransMilenio has proved that this is not always true. and vice versa. and they may change to transit The effect of metro systems here is less evident. so its effect is not as important in this sense. and must be deeply studied in every context. reduce the likelihood of crime. due to the fact that they do not consume public space. On the other hand. But. Urban impacts Looking for a reduction in house-station distance. This is also influenced by the kind of vehicle and in buses. without any. some authors consider that bus systems may be perceived as less permanent than railbased ones. The implementation of a transit system usually leads to area improvement by employment and economic growth. This is called “induced traffic”. so they must be affordable. transit-oriented development will imply densification and development along transit corridors. and there has been a notable development along the BRT corridor. with a good reputation among all social groups. so the mix makes flow worse  People’s switch to transit leads to less amount of traffic  It has been proved that increase in road capacity leads to increase in amount of traffic. it allows better control.

and prices of the unreliable services that assist these areas are high. A case of study. rather than on a specific technology. Lagos transport infrastructure remains the same than what served just 6 million people 20 years ago.4. This situation stops the development of the poor and excludes them from work and social services. is the design based on costumers’ necessities. On the other hand. this is one of the cases where the solution adopted does not have all the features of a “full” BRT system but the quality remains high and the system affordable. The key issues of the city transport were low quality and insufficient transportation system and infrastructure. Lagos BRT-Lite 4. Population density decrease has made more difficult to provide efficient public transportation. Lagos was the only megacity in the World without an organized public mass transportation system. lack of transportation policies and week institutions. As explained above. This situation deal to massive demand growing of transportation services based on individual minibus operators. 4. The city has experienced rapid urbanization growth without sufficient parallel infrastructure development. Moreover.2 Design development A unique premise of BRT systems. the absence of land use regulations has led to rapid urban sprawl. Before BRT was launched in March 2008. and in particular Lagos’ BRT-Lite. In the study phase. the unsustainable demand of private transport implied deterioration of poor facilities and large congestion and pollution problems. so primary beneficiaries of the system . which depend mostly on public transport. The development of the new system was based on the success of previous BRT projects in Bogotá (Colombia) and Curitiva (Brazil) but adapted to the city context. the 6 million people BRT-Lite’s catchment area was divided into 3 groups: . affecting the most vulnerable segments of society. In its conception it was viewed not necessarily as a long-term aspiration. with variable fares and unreliable service. but a fast and cheap solution that will be integrated in a more ambitious mass transportation development project. As Lagos had had poor transportation quality and people could not conceive how organized public transportation might work there. shared taxis and motor-cycle taxis.25% Vehicle owners but susceptible to use it under right circumstances 14 . LAMATA (Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority) had to fight against skepticism developing a sense of ownership within the citizens of Lagos. This weakness in the physical infrastructure necessary to support basic needs has hampered efficiency and productivity in the metropolitan area.65% No vehicle owners.1 Introduction Lagos is the commercial capital of Nigeria with a growing population of more than 15 million of inhabitants.

Features that increase comfort. At first. making irregular suppliers to improve in order to compete against BRT-Lite and traffic speeding up by removing buses from mix traffic flow. unlikely to use public transportation but with strong power and likely to benefit from traffic decongestion. just 100 buses were running regular services and 25 express. The design adopted continuous bilateral segregation with breaks in the connections with service roads and overpasses that allow easy removal of broken-down vehicles. The small non-BRT buses were banned from the segregated lanes and from the main lanes. These numbers did not accomplish the estimated demand of 300 buses operating at 20second headways. For example. 4.3 Characteristics of the system The first phase of the system runs along a 22-kilometer radial highway that connects suburbs and satellite centers to the traditional business center of Lagos. and were coordinated with the new system. contractors and designers worked together to ensure the concept while reducing large amount of time during design period. as well as how to use the BRT commercials. what also increases their status.7 million per kilometer.4 System cost. and the capital costs were $1. what is much lower than $5. or the possibility to avoid them. This gave a chance to costumers to choose. In stead of the typical detailed design phase. development and performance The duration from the beginning of the design phase to start operations was 15 months.- 10% High-income citizens. 15 . service reliability and security. This corridor has 65% of physically segregated bus lanes and 20% of busways. Other affected sectors as taxi or old buses owners/drivers were not excluded from the conversations. Vehicles were financed by the vehicle supplier and the financial sector. 4. being relegated to service lanes that run parallel to the corridor. learning how to use the new infrastructure and devices. 100 new buses were procured by the private sector and 120 by a state-owned company and then leased to the private sector operator. the best minibuses drivers were encouraged to retrain to become BRT drivers. Each group was consulted individually in order to get increase ownership feeling and creating a user projected system.3 million per kilometer of its Latino American predecessors. BRT-Lite includes pre-boarding fare payment. new and comfortable shelters and terminals. A big marketing campaign was also launched. In the first phase. The solution adopted until more buses where purchased was allow the low-quality existing minibuses continue operating without use the segregated lanes.

respectively.Average queuing time in busy stops 10 minutes during peak hours The fares of ride BRT-Lite are N120 across zones and N70 within the same zone.Average journey time along the whole corridor under an hour .000 passengers per day. as well as the pedestrian access to stations does not require supplementary infrastructure. That has directly improve the mobility of 130. sustainability must be a key concept in transportation development.000 that potentially will shift from drive own vehicle to transit. While the unreliable traditional systems charge a variable fare. equivalent to $1. and 50. achieving a peak hour oneway capacity of 10. what has decrease congestion on these areas of the city.Average express service about 40 minutes . segregation between different transportation systems and a potential to further change to less contaminant energy sources. what is equivalent to $0.45. and with this disposition the transition from them to regular road is easier. Social impact According with the numbers provided 200. this system has just a 65% of physically segregated bus lanes. instead of the typical location in the median. with an increasing motorization rate. On the other hand. 4. This leads to complex intersections in the points where regular cars need to leave the main road. On the other hand. traditional buses implied serious challenge to traffic flow.Performance The average ridership is around 200. some times as large as N230. In a city that is projected to become the 3th largest megacity in the World.5. and these measures are oriented in the right way: fewer vehicles. System analysis 16 . and the segregation between systems is not perfect. due to irregular stops and slow speed.Headways average: 30 seconds during morning peak hours. A survey carried out seven months after operation begun shows that: . 45 during the off-peak period.000 passengers use the BRT-Lite per day. .8 and $0.000 that do not have access to a private car.000 passengers. With the implementation of the BRT-Lite they are not allowed to use segregated lines neither the main road. This has clear implications in mobility and congestion management.5 Design An important difference between Lagos BRT-Lite and other BRT system is that this adopted two parallel lines in the exterior part of the road.

and implies a big effort to another big percentage of the Nigerians. in Nigeria about 57% of the population lives on less than US$1 (N155) per day.700 vehicles less per day in both directions.5% that now can be expended in more basic needs. Potential environmental improvement In the context of development. These consequences help to improve public health by reducing ambient air pollution. They reduce vehicle kilometers of travel and improve the energy efficiency of people’s mobility. This unsustainable practice is one of 17 . traffic was counted along the study corridor before and after BRT-Lite implementation. This implies family savings of 10.7 kilotons per year. As we can see in the tables below. In this study it was not taken into account indirect CO 2 emissions as change in the behavior of travelers.5 million tons of Crude oil and exports 94% of this production. Ghana. environmental issues are often forgotten in favor of affordability and other factors whose direct effect in poverty reduction are much more evident. Kenya and Accra. That means that even the new fares are still far from the limited budget of this part of the population. There were 10. In these cities the traffic features are comparables with Lagos and the emission factors obtained were: Vehicle type Grams CO2 per km Car 343 Taxi 320 Danfo/Bus 489 BRT 1316 Table 2: Estimated emission factors from Nairobi and Accra data In Lagos. With BRT. Data shortage force to study environmental impact based on comparison with other cities where field research on emissions was made. Therefore. the average fare has decrease from N230 to N120 (N70 within the same zone). These are Nairobi. Hence. On the other hand. Despite of the large oil production. it implies reduction in green house gases emissions due to decrease in energy consumption per passenger-kilometer.It is estimated that people expended 20% of household income in transportation. the reduction in CO2 emissions is estimated in 24. Environmental impact The main ideas of the project are to improve mobility along a prioritized corridor and promote a shift to more environmentally sustainable urban transportation modes. Nigeria produces 102. as well as facilitate walking and reduce noise levels. Nigeria imports every year 65% of the motor gasoline that consumes. what is a 13% reduction. potential of technical improvement of buses and smother flow of private vehicles.

IEA 2008 18 . Table 3: Energy consumption per sector. 27% of electricity is generated from hydroelectric plants and 58% from natural gas. Therefore.the reasons why further investigation should be made in order to use another kind of energy source to power public transit. For example. because of independence on energy imports to run BRT buses. shift to hybrid (gas and electric) vehicles would have strong repercussion in reduction of localized emissions in the city and national economy.

Therefore. other BRT projects are being developed in Sub-Saharan African countries. mobility patterns and local emissions factors. the necessity of more field numerical data such as traffic flows. 19 .6 Further research The importance and scope of this topic moves beyond a qualitative analysis of this specific project. As a further research I would point out. Finally. in order to achieve a better understanding of the repercussion of mass transit systems in localized green house emissions. it is necessary information about energy consumption per vehicle class and potential to use buses powered by other energy sources. first of all. as the Rea Vaya in Johannesburg that is already working. a comparative analysis between performance and impacts of several systems would give valuable information about how to extend Bus Rapid Transit system to other developing cities. IEA 2008 4. Moreover.Table 4: Electricity generation. Sustainable mobility in developing countries is a key point for several organizations but few measures have been taken to improve it. Qualitative analyses that have not been studied in this paper but play an important role in the success of future projects are the implication of institutions and the access of the poorest to the system.

International Energy Agency on-line Data Service 10. Hook. (2009) Presentation: “The Success Story of the 1st Ever BRT Project in Lagos. (2009) Africa’s First Bus Rapid Transit Scheme: The Lagos BRT- Lite System 6. Sustainable Transport: A Source-book for Policy Makers. T. 8. (2005) Institutional and Regulatory Options for Bus Rapid Transit in Developing Countries 5. October 15. Osinubi. Mobereola. C. Nigeria. Bus Rapid Transit Planning Guide (June 2007) 2. “A Practical Approach to Bus Rapid Transit” 4. W.” 7. 3. O. Project Appraisal Lagos Urban Transport Project 2. 2009 20 . Nigeria. S. Module 3b: Bus Rapid Transit.5. D. Spencer J. The World Factbook. 9. L. Henke. CIA. Bibliography 1. Urban Poverty in Nigeria: A Case Study of Agege Area of Lagos State. Wright.

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