Asian Development Bank Approved $235 million loan for bus rapid transit system in Karachi

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a massive loan of $235 million for developing a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, with innovative energy and climate resilience features. The aim is to create greater access to quality public transport for people in Karachi, which is Pakistan’s largest and most populated city. 

The Karachi Bus Rapid Transit Red Line Project will deliver 26.6-kilometer Bus Rapid Transit Red Line corridor, and associated facilities. These are expected to benefit at least 1.5 million people (around 10% of Karachi’s population) who live within a kilometer of a Red Line BRT station. More than 300,000 passengers are expected per day on the Red Line BRT routes. ADB will partially administer two loans of $100 million each from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Agence Francaise de Developpement to finance the project’s civil works and equipment costs together. 

The Red Line BRT corridor will be restructured in its entirety. This includes the construction of 29 stations and dedicated lanes along the 26.6km stretch, improvements to the mixed traffic roadway with up to 6 lanes in each direction, improvements to the drainage system to climate-proof the corridor, installation of non-motorized transport infrastructure such as bicycle lanes, inclusion of on-street parking and landscaped green areas in various locations, better and improved sidewalks and energy-efficient street lights. 

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

On behalf of Green Climate Fund (GCF), ADB will also administer a $37.2 million loan and a grant of $11.8 million. The GCF grant will be used to finance climate change adaptation measures. These include innovative drainage features such as bioswales (landscape elements designed to concentrate or remove debris and pollution out of surface runoff water). It will also be used for post-project emissions’ monitoring activities and feeder e-vehicles.

On the other hand, the loan from GCF will be used to finance the biogas plant as well as the incremental cost of transitioning from basic diesel bus technology to compressed natural gas hybrid bus technology, with biomethane extracted from cattle waste.

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