Funding sourced for bus rapid transport project
Finance has been sourced for construction of the Vientiane Sustainable Urban Transport Project, also known as the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), project to improve public transport and ease traffic congestion in central Vientiane, an official in charge of the project has said.
A model of a component of the Bus Rapid Transit project.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has provided a loan of US$35 million, while another loan of US$15 million was offered by the OPEC Fund for International Development, and a loan of US$20 million was provided by the European Investment Bank.
The ADB says it has approved the US$35 million loan to help finance the bus rapid transit system and other transport innovations to improve traffic flows in Vientiane.
The project comprises five main activities involving public transport systems, parking management and enforcement, and traffic management systems. The activities will also improve public spaces and non-motorised transport as well as institutional capacity.
The project will develop an 84-km Vientiane public transport network also known as the BRT network, including an 11.5-km dedicated bus lane from Wattay International Airport to Nongbone village, Xaysettha district.
The BRT buses, through the dedicated bus lane, will offer rail-like system services that will offer quicker transport services, which will in turn reduce traffic congestion.
Construction of the project is expected to start next year with completion slated for 2020-2021, a technical officer in charge of project coordination under the Department of Transport, Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Mr Putthaxay Sirisack, told Vientiane Times yesterday.
Some 96 modern minibuses and 150 three-wheeled vehicles will be purchased, Mr Putthaxay said, adding that the three-wheeled vehicles will be used to deliver passengers from bus stops to various small lanes.
Funding of more than 811 billion kip (totaling US$99.7 million) has now been secured from several sources in the form of loans and grants.
In addition to the above-mentioned funding sources, a grant of US$6.9 million has been provided by the EU Asian Investment Fund, while the Global Environment Facility offered US$1.84 million as an additional grant.
Meanwhile, private sector investment provided US$6.41 million and the Lao government contributed US$14.55 million to the project.
Officials in charge are now seeking a consulting company, while preparation for other aspects is also ongoing.
Project officials are discussing ticket pricing, and it is expected that bus tickets will be cheaper than normal bus tickets. The final price will be announced before the official opening of the bus rapid transit system, Mr Putthaxay said.
The project will create a pedestrian-friendly urban transport system in Vientiane, where two-thirds of daily trips are taken on motorbikes and public transport accounts for less than 1 percent of daily trips, the ADB said.
The bus rapid transit system, which will feature over 11km of dedicated bus corridor lanes, 24 enclosed stations, and new low-carbon emitting buses, draws on the design and lessons of other state-of-the-art sustainable urban transport systems supported by the ADB.
The project will also fund traffic management improvements in the heart of Vientiane, including new signal lights at key intersections and a central control centre.
New electronic paid parking and national vehicle registration systems will be established, and pedestrian crossings and pavement upgrades carried out to improve the city's walkability.
By Times Reporters
(Latest Update January 11, 2017)