ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Pakistan ON Tuesday signed a $335 million loan to help develop a Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system in Peshawar, the capital city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The project will improve public transport of the city through a state of the art integrated BRT system.
Xiaohong Yang, ADB’s Country Director for Pakistan and Shahid Mahmood, Secretary Economic Affairs Division (EAD) for the Government of Pakistan, signed the loan agreement in Islamabad. Dawood Khan, Secretary Transport and Mass Transit Department Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa signed the project agreement on behalf of the provincial government. Finance Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar witnessed the signing ceremony.
“Peshawar is a center of trade and commerce not only in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province but for the broader region. The city’s booming population has been causing tremendous traffic congestion and pressure on its public transport infrastructure and basic urban services negatively impacting its economic growth” said Ms. Yang. “The BRT corridor will improve the quality of life of the city’s residents by offering safer, efficient, and affordable public transportation. The modern technology used in the project will also cut emissions, and make commuting easier and safer for women, and attract businesses and investors to the city.”
The Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the European Investment Bank are also expected to co-finance the project.
The Peshawar BRT corridor will span 26 kilometers from Chamkani to Hayatabad, mainly at-grade along the GT road with a 6-km elevated section in the city-center and tunnel or trench section at junctions to ensure its full segregation. The system will include 32 stations, 1 staging facility and 2 depots. The entire corridor will be restructured along the new BRT infrastructure, including upgraded mixed traffic lanes, sidewalks, streetlights and drainage. It will have many innovative features such as park-and-ride facilities, and a continuous walkway and bicycle lanes built along the at-grade sections and underneath the elevated section. Bicycle parking will also be provided on pilot basis at BRT stations to allow commuters to use bicycles as their first or last mile connectivity to the BRT. The Peshawar BRT project is a transformational venture for the city that will lead to urban renewal on a wide scale.
The “third-generation” system will allow 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. Among the mass transit systems, BRT is considered to be the most cost-efficient. In many cases, with only a fraction of the cost, BRT carries as many passengers as a light rail (LRT) system. Besides, BRT also offers flexibility and easy system expansion.
The BRT project will also help develop institutional capacity of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mobility Authority and the TransPeshawar Company to ensure sustainable operations. It will establish universal access and safety features for women and children, as well as disabled, including proper lighting and surveillance, segregated areas, and staff trained to facilitate women commuters. Of the 4,000 jobs expected to be generated by the project, over 20% are expected to be for women.
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 totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in cofinancing. NNI