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World Bank routes $10.5 mln aid for HCMC public transportation

By Phan Nghia   January 15, 2020 | 08:00 pm PT
World Bank routes $10.5 mln aid for HCMC public transportation
Public buses (L) are stuck in traffic in HCMC. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
A $10.5 million non-refundable aid agreement to develop public transportation in HCMC was signed Wednesday by the Vietnamese government and the World Bank.

Sponsored by Switzerland's State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, the funding, along with counterpart funds of $202,000 from the city's budget, will provide technical assistance for the "Developing green transport in HCMC" project, which aims to build a 23-km bus rapid transit (BRT) system on Vo Van Kiet – Mai Chi Tho Avenue that runs along the central District 1 and District 2, home to a large expat community and where a new urban area is being developed.

Connecting the city center with southeast and northwest peripheries, the BRT system would improve the quality and efficiency of the city's public transportation.

"The project would bring major economic, environmental and social benefits, oriented towards more sustainable urban development in HCMC. Later, it would hopefully become a model for other cities in Vietnam with similar problems," said Ivo Sieber, the Swiss ambassador in Vietnam.

"Developing green transport in HCMC" has the overall aim of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of HCMC's public transport system, delivering potential benefits of over $120 million a year to the city.

Public buses are the only means of public transport in the city, but they have been falling out of public favor, as the system is not well connected and the buses have to share space with motorbikes and cars, thus are usually stuck in heavy traffic.

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