Vientiane’s Public Transport drives ahead as Japan provides brand new buses, equipment worth US$3.7 Million

Road safety and air quality in the capital city of Laos are set to benefit from better public transport options with contribution of new and improved buses and related equipment from Japan.

The Government of Japan will provide 500 million yen (approximately US$3.7 million) in grant aid to support the improvement and enhancement of public transportation.

Assistance from Japan will support 52 public buses, bus maintenance equipment and materials, driving simulators, and more.

The “Handover Ceremony for Economic and Social Development Plan (Provision of Public Buses and Bus-related Materials and Equipment)” was held at Don Chan Palace Hotel in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, on February 28.

Presiding over the handover was Ambassador of Japan to Laos Mr Kobayashi Kenichi and Minister of Public Works and Transport Ngampasong Muongmany. The Lao capital seeks to improve and strengthen its public transportation system to address the challenges of Vientiane’s urbanization and population growth. Rapid urbanization has resulted in increased traffic congestion, especially in the morning and evening.

In addition, approximately 1,400 serious accidents occur in Vientiane per year, killing about 200 persons and injuring about 1,900.

To date, no major accidents have occurred involving public buses in the capital. There has not been a single fatal accident in the last 10 years. Affordability is also a key factor when compared to other typical public and private transportation modes, with the cost of bus travel being approximately 20% of the cost per passenger for an average journey utilizing private vehicles. It is expected that the quality of public transportation will be improved and strengthened through a low-fare, safe and reliable public bus network.

The use of public buses for transit can also be expected to reduce air pollution and health hazards by reducing exhaust emissions per passenger.

In addition, the emissions of carbon dioxide, a factor in climate change, can likewise be reduced. The provided buses are 5 meters shorter in length than the buses Japan provided to Laos in the past. These models will be able to make tighter turns and pass narrower and curving roads.

As a result, the buses will be able to operate more conveniently and allow passengers to explore new routes. Japan seeks to continue to support the improvement and enhancement of public transportation in the Lao capital through the provision of vehicles as well as bus-related equipment and materials under this assistance programme.

Japan will continue to work with Lao counterparts to provide high-quality, practical economic cooperation through high-quality infrastructure and related assistance, maintaining and strengthening close ties to successfully address the various issues that the Government of Laos is tackling.

Source: Lao News Agency