ISLAMABAD - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has offered the Capital Development Authority (CDA) a multi-tranche loan to help build Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project in the federal capital.

The project is termed feasible by the ADB in a pre-feasibility study - the ADB has recently conducted and submitted with the Authority. Besides, it has also shown its willingness to provide a loan up to 80 per cent of the total cost of the project.

In the pre-feasibility report the approximate cost of the project is estimated around Rs 7.5 billion. The pre-feasibility study has been carried out only for Islamabad as the Punjab government had already refused to become part of the project that was initially aimed to connect the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad in a bid to make venture profitable and more successful.

“The Planning Commission of Pakistan on Thursday wrote to the Chairman CDA about the proposed loan offered by the ADB asking for CDA’s consent over the issue,” CDA Member Planning and Design Syed Mustafain Kazmi said.

He said that the Chairman CDA had asked for a brief presentation to the CDA Board over the BRT project. “Terms and conditions offered by ADB will be discussed and if found viable, the option will certainly be considered,” he added.

The Infrastructure Project Development Facility (IPDF) and Cities Development Initiative for Asia - a subsidiary of ADB - had undertaken the pre-feasibility study on the BRT project.

As per study, around 42000 commuters daily travel within the federal capital. The pre-feasibility study suggests that as many as 48 multi-fuel buses would be inducted in the first phase on four different intra-city routes.  Tickets will be available in three price categories, that is Rs30, Rs40 and Rs50 per person depending on the length of route.

For CDA it will be a no-profit-no-loss situation, if every passenger is charged Rs50 for travel, otherwise, the Authority has to provide subsidy against the project, the study suggests.

“According to the study, the CDA will attain break-even point if every passenger is paying fare of Rs50. We will have to provide subsidy under two price categories - that is Rs30 and Rs40,” informed an official.

The four routes proposed in the study include, 1) IJP Road to Pak-Secretariat via 9th Avenue and Blue Area, 2) Sector G-10 to Pak-Secretariat via Sector G-9 and Kashmir Highway, 3) from Sector F-10 4) from Sector I-10 covering Sectors I-9 and I-8. 

During peak hours, the buses would leave their terminal in equal intervals of five minutes while during off hours after every 15 minutes.

The official sources further said that ADB has also suggested two financial plans to the Authority. The long-term financing plan spans over 10 years while the short-term plan on five years.

If reached an agreement, the Authority would have to provide 20 per cent (1.5 billion) of the total cost of the project, while ADB provide loan up to 80 per cent (6 billion), the official said.

The CDA’s BRT project is aimed at relieving the capital city’s severe traffic issues, as in the absence of decent transport facility the commuters face long commute times due to inefficient transport system.

The CDA has sought expression of interest from potential firms/consortia of international repute on July 2, 2012 for BRT project on BOT basis.

However, now after the offer extended by the ADB, the civic agency would have to decide if it wanted to go with the original idea or new proposal.