SANTIAGO, March 12 (Xinhua) -- The capital's new public transport system, with the support of Chinese electric buses, will improve the quality of life and promote sustainability in Chile, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said here on Tuesday.
Pinera attended the unveiling ceremony of Santiago's Metropolitan Mobility Network (RED) Tuesday in the capital's Bustamante Park and praised Chinese-made electric buses for their help in upgrading public transit in the capital.
"The (bus) fleet has without a doubt been one of our main preoccupations. We already have 100 electric buses in circulation on our city streets and very soon we are going to have 100 more," Pinera said.
The RED, Santiago's revamped public transit system to replace the old Transantiago system, will cover the city's public transport means from subways to buses, bicycles and suburban trains.
In December 2018, Pinera unveiled the first 100 electric buses for Santiago's transit fleet, which were made by Chinese electric vehicle maker BYD.
In January, Transport and Telecommunications Minister Gloria Hutt unveiled a second fleet of 100 electric buses, this time made by Chinese manufacturer Yutong, which will soon join the BYD buses to serve city residents.
The new units rank Chile in first place as the Latin American country with the biggest electric public transit fleet, and in second place globally.
As much as "70 percent of the current bus fleet is going to be a totally new fleet, renewed, the vast majority electric, some with Euro VI norms," said Pinera.
"This public transport system is going to be faster, more efficient, more comfortable, easier to use, safer and cleaner for the environment," he said.
The plan is to introduce electric buses to Chile, instead of carrying on with the "old practice" of shipping older vehicles that were retired from service in Santiago "to die" in other cities, said the president.
"The RED is much more than a brand. Much more than a service. It's really a commitment to uniting all Chileans through a new public transport system that will improve their quality of life and allow them to live a fuller, happier life," said Pinera.
Constanza Cea, executive director of the Chilean branding and promotion agency Imagen de Chile, also celebrated the move to modernize transit with new technologies.
"Only China has cities with larger fleets" of electric buses, she said.
"This type of innovation helps Chile's image and is a source of pride for everyone," she said.