ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board of Directors has approved a $335 million loan to help the Government of Pakistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to develop a sustainable urban transport system in Peshawar through the creation of the city’s first integrated Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor, says a press release.
Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the European Investment Bank are also expected to provide support to the project through $75 million each in co-financing. The ADB will administer the loan from the AFD.
“A modern and safe urban transport system is essential for the growth and development of cities like Peshawar and in the improvement of the quality of life of its residents,” said Xiaohong Yang, ADB Country Director for Pakistan.
“The BRT corridor will not only provide safer, more efficient, and comfortable transportation options for the people in Peshawar, it will also improve the air quality, reduce carbon emissions, foster gender equity, and make the city more livable.”
The scope of the project includes construction of a 26 kilometer, 31 station BRT corridor and associated facilities, including 2 depots, park-and-ride facilities, bicycle lanes, sidewalks, streetlights, as well as improved drainage to climate-proof the corridor.
“The Peshawar BRT project uses investment in mass-transit infrastructure as a tool for urban renewal, using transit-oriented urban development to organize urban growth,” said Yong Ye, Director of Urban Development and Water at ADB.
“ADB’s financing will help renew and renovate the entire corridor width from façade to façade, including the BRT in the median.”
The project includes capacity building of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mobility Authority and the TransPeshawar Company. The company will be responsible for BRT operations.
Current public transport has low usage among women passengers. The project will establish universal access and safety features for women and children, as well as disabled, including proper lighting and monitoring, segregated areas, and staff trained to deal with harassment incidents. Of the 4,000 jobs expected to be generated by the project, 10% are expected to be for women.
The Peshawar BRT is considered a “third-generation” BRT system, an innovation which allows BRT vehicles to travel along the BRT corridor in the busiest parts of the city and to travel off-corridor in less congested areas. This approach expands the system’s reach and capacity, lessens passenger transfers, and increases ridership and financial sustainability. The initial BRT fleet will be procured under the project. The system is expected to benefit 500,000 people in the city.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2016, ADB assistance totalled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in co-financing.—PR