MANILA, March 17 (Xinhua) -- The World Bank announced on Friday that its board has approved the first bus rapid transit or BRT system in Manila, the Philippine capital with 12.8 million people.
In a statement, the Wold Bank said that the BRT system would provide safe and comfortable rides for about 300,000 commuters daily along Espana Boulevard and Quezon Avenue.
Like trains, it said, BRTs runs on dedicated lanes, carrying passengers in large numbers. Unlike trains that run on rails, however, the bank said BRTs deploy buses, making the system simpler and cheaper to construct, operate, and maintain.
The statement said the Metro Manila BRT Line 1 Project will cost 109.4 million U.S. dollars, of which 64.6 million will come from the World Bank and the Clean Technology Fund, the Philippine government will provide funding equivalent to 44.8 million.
"By providing an affordable and convenient public transport option, this project will help make job and education opportunities more accessible, especially for the poor residing around the BRT route," said WB Country Director Mara Warwick.
"High-capacity transport systems like BRT help reduce greenhouse gases, boosting the country's contribution to the global fight against climate change," Warwick added.
Warwick said the project will also develop support infrastructure along the busy Espana Boulevard-Quezon Avenue route, including bus terminals and stations, segregation barriers, sidewalks, warning and direction signs, and pedestrian crossing facilities, among other facilities.
"Bus systems like BRT are cost-effective options for reducing emissions of harmful gases that cause climate change," said Zhang Zhihong, senior program coordinator of the Clean Technology Fund.
He said implementation of this project alone will prevent the release of around 2.6 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere in the next 20 years. "Transport is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions globally and projects like this show the road to a cleaner future," Zhang said.
Managed by the World Bank, the Clean Technology Fund provides developing countries and emerging economic with resources to scale up clean technologies that have strong potential for reducing greenhouse emissions.
Globally, the fund has provided 3.8 billion U.S. dollars to support clean technologies such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, and transport.
To be implemented by the Philippine Department of Transportation in coordination with the local governments of Manila and Quezon City, the Manila BRT Line 1 is expected to be operational by 2020.
Pioneered in Curitiba, Brazil in 1974, BRT systems are growing in popularity throughout the world for efficiency and affordability. Over 150 cities in the world operate or are developing BRT.