ADB approves $1bn loan for Philippines public transport

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Funding to help establish a city-wide public transport project in Davao City, the first in the country to deploy electric bus fleets at scale.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) today approved a $1bn loan to help deploy electric bus fleets at scale in support of the Philippines’ efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and promote climate action. The project will build accessible bus stops, depots and terminals, and buy more than 1,000 buses. 

The Davao Public Transport Modernization Project, ADB’s largest road-based public transport project in the Philippines, is expected to serve as a pilot for overhauling the country’s public road transport system. It will support the procurement of a modern fleet comprised of about 1,100 electric and Euro 5-standard diesel-fueled buses. The new fleet is expected to reduce 60% of annual greenhouse gas emissions from public transport in Davao City, the country’s third-largest city by population. 

“The project is set to transform the quality of Davao City’s public transport and support the city’s rapid economic growth with a low-carbon and climate-resilient bus system,” said ADB senior transport specialist for Southeast Asia Shuji Kimura. “Not only will this support the Philippines’ climate goals, but it will help to improve the lives of vulnerable populations especially women and the young who use public transport daily,” he said.

The project will service about 800,000 passengers per day. It also includes the construction of around 1,000 bus stops with bright lighting and shelters, five bus depots and three bus terminals and provide bus driving training for the new system. The project will upgrade the city’s public transport experience via an intelligent transport system that includes a bus location system, automatic fare collection systems and Wi-Fi connectivity in buses, terminals and depots. 

Uban development is becoming a major focus for ADB financing and it has also announced $200m for the Rajasthan Secondary Towns Development Sector Project to improve water supply and sanitation systems and support the enhancement of urban resilience and heritage living in India.

The ongoing project has so far laid 1,451km of water supply pipes, 1,110km of sewer pipes and connected 68,098 households to water services in selected secondary towns in Rajasthan.

“ADB is committed to supporting the government in addressing complex urban development challenges by providing high-quality urban infrastructure and services and fostering the health and wellbeing of its residents,” said ADB principal urban development specialist for South Asia Na Won Kim. “This additional ADB funding will have diversified interventions beyond water supply and sanitation and incorporate various innovative and climate-resilient solutions,” he said.

The loan will improve water supply systems in at least seven project towns by converting all groundwater sources to surface water, replacing about 700km of leaking water pipes, installing 1,400km of new water supply pipelines and providing 77,000 households connections with water meters. It will also establish three new water treatment plants. 

Sanitation systems will be upgraded in at least eight project towns by rehabilitating about 580km of sewers, building seven sewage treatment plants with co-treatment units to process fecal sludge and septage and connecting more than 50,000 households to the sewage system.