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Colombia to improve capital city’s public transport system with IDB loan

Colombia will improve its public transportation system in Bogota with a $40 million loan approved by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), making its hallmark bus system better as well as cleaner.

With 7.6 million inhabitants and approximately 16 percent of Colombia’s population, Bogota faces the challenge of providing efficient transportation to support its economic potential, boost its competitiveness and improve the quality of life of its inhabitants.

The project will finance 282 new medium capacity hybrid or electric buses. It will reduce operating costs of this fleet by 35 percent and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 7,000 tons/year, a 46 percent drop. This fleet will provide access to improved low-carbon transport to approximately 33,000 people per day. Financing for clean technology buses will increase the benefits offered by the Integrated Public Transport System because it will lead to even greater reductions in operating costs and transportation-related emissions. 

Around 8.8 million motorized trips are made daily in Bogota, where public transportation is the primary means of travel. The city’s main challenge is to maintain public transportation as the primary mode of transportation in order to ensure efficient and sustainable mobility. Bogota is considered one of the Latin American cities with the highest levels of air pollution, with vehicles contributing nearly half the local air pollutants directly related to the number of vehicles, their technology, and traffic levels.

In the past 15 years, Bogota has invested heavily in developing Transmilenio, its mass transit network. Today, the city has a dedicated network of 102 km for high-capacity buses that serve the corridors in high demand. Transmilenio serves 31 percent of public transportation trips, providing a relatively high level of service due to its organization, regulation, and dedicated infrastructure. The remaining 69 percent of public transportation trips are served by Transporte Público Colectivo [the collective public transportation system] (CPT), which comprises Bogota’s other buses, small buses, and Microbuses.

The IDB financing consists of a $40 million 40-year loan with resources from the Clean Technology Fund with a 10-year grace period and a fixed interest rate of 0.25 percent.