The government has approved the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project in a move to improve and speed up the public transport system and mitigate traffic congestion in Vientiane.
The Ministry of Public Works and Transport told the National Assembly (NA) at its ordinary session, which ended recently, that the US$82 million project was approved by the cabinet in June.
The ministry responded to the parliament’s questions about the government’s plan to improve the public transport system and find ways to mitigate traffic congestion.
If everything goes as planned, the authorities in charge of the plan will carry out a detailed survey and design, as well as organising a bid to seek an appropriate contractor to oversee the construction work from 2015-16.
Construction works are expected to begin in the 2017-18 fiscal year, with completion slated for the end of 2018.
Under the project plan, the Vientiane public transport network, also known as the BRT network, will be 84km long and will include an 11.5km long bus lane.
The BRT would provide quicker transport for passengers, Head of the Project’s Coordination Unit Dr Bounta Onnavong told Vientiane Times yesterday.
“The BRT buses, notably through the 11.5km long bus lane, will offer a rail-like system service and ensure quicker transport services,” he said.
Dr Bounta said the bus route would cover the main city centre area, while the whole 84km long network would cover a larger area.
Finance for the project will be sourced from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and some other donors.
According to the ministry, the ADB is expected to provide a loan, while some international donors are expected to provide grants.
The Ministry of Finance was entrusted to negotiate with the ADB and secure a loan. The ADB is set to consider approving the project in September this year.
The project comprises six main activities including: purchasing 92 modern buses, construction of two bus stations and a bus garage, as well as improving the bus stations in the city.
The activities will also improve the centralised traffic administration system, improve footpaths and roads, as well the organisational structure by undertaking personnel training to ensure staff members are capable of managing the system.
Dr Bounta said the ADB and the Lao government had worked on the project over the past four years.
Activities carried by the two sides included conducting a pre-feasibility study and project preparatory technical assistance.
Dr Bounta said if the project proposal, to be submitted to the ADB in September, was developed based on what the ADB and Lao officials had worked on together, finance from the ADB should already be sourced.
Source: Vientiane Times