The World Bank has approved a loan of US$124 million to improve the performance and efficiency of public transport in Ho Chi Minh City, which generates one-fifth of Vietnam’s gross domestic product.
Along with its surrounding region, the city accounts for almost half of Vietnam’s total manufacturing output.
“To ensure continued strong economic performance and achieve Vietnam’s goal of successfully transitioning to middle-income status, the national government is seeking to address infrastructure constraints as one of its key strategic direction,” Arturo Ardila-Gomez, the World Bank’s project team leader, said in a statement.
“Given HCMC’s pivotal role in the national economy, the project focuses on upgrading a key transport corridor to demonstrate the potential of a sustainable urban transport system,” he said.
The project will finance the development of a Bus Rapid Transit corridor between An Lac in the southwest and Rach Chiec in the northeast, stretching about 23 kilometers, with 28 stations.
The system, once completed, will be able to transport up to 28,300 passengers a day. Its design aims to address the needs of women, children and people with disabilities.
In addition, the project will finance at least 28 buses that will run on compressed natural gas, a cleaner fuel that reduces emissions and pollution.
The project also seeks to show the advantages of Bus Rapid Transit and help city authorities prepare for the implementation of a proposed six-line network.
The future metro, tramway, BRT, and bus lines will need to be coordinated to provide users with an integrated service that makes travel convenient.
The project has a total cost of $137.45 million and will be financed by an International Development Association credit equivalent to $124 million.
The remaining investment will be co-financed by the Vietnamese government ($13.45 million).