$235m ADB loan to help develop Karachi’s BRT

KARACHI: The Asian Development Bank (ABD) has approved a $235 million loan to develop Karachi’s Bus Rapid Transit project.

According to a press release issued by the ADB on Friday, the Karachi BRT Red Line Project will deliver the 26.6 kilometres BRT Line Red Line and its associated facilities, which they said will benefit 1.5 million individuals, who live within a km of the Red Line BRT station.

The ADB said that over 300,000 passengers are expected on the Red Line BRT routes daily.

The development bank said that it will “partially administer” two loans of $100 million each from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Agence Française de Développement for the joint financing of the civil works of the project and its equipment costs.

“There is a need for a more sustainable, reliable, safe, and gender and environment-friendly transportation system in a city as dense and rapidly growing as Karachi. A sustainable transportation system will not only solve the city’s mobility issue but also its growing pollution problem,” ADB Principal Urban Development Specialist (Transport) for Central and West Asia David Margonsztern was quoted as saying.

“The BRT system, with its innovative features, will address all these issues, improving the overall quality of lives of people in the city,” he added.

As per ADB, the project will restructure the entire width of the Red Line BRT corridor which includes: the construction of 29 stations, dedicated lanes, improvement of the mixed-traffic roadway with up to six lanes in each direction, inclusion of on-street parking and landscaped green areas in various locations, improvement of the drainage system to climate-proof the corridor and installation of nonmotorised transport infrastructure such as bicycle lanes, improved sidewalks, and energy-efficient street lights.

“The project will also establish sustainable BRT operations in Karachi by improving the capacity of relevant transport authorities, designing the BRT business model and subsidy-free operations, implementing a bus industry transition program, including a fleet scrapping program and compensation mechanism, developing an effective public communications campaign and delivering the BRT fleet, feeder e-vehicles, intelligent transport system, and a biogas plant.”

Additionally, the ADB will administer a loan of $37.2 million for financing the biogas plant and the incremental cost of the transition from basic diesel bus technology to compressed natural gas hybrid bus technology and a grant of $11.6 million from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) for financing climate change adaptation measures, post-project emissions’ monitoring activities and feeder e-vehicles.