Almaty to roll out new, greener buses with EBRD help

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo
@pyrkalo

The EBRD is stepping up its support of the Kazakh city of Almaty’s comprehensive reform to its public transportation system. Today the EBRD and the city have signed a loan agreement for a senior 10-year US$ 39.3 million loan which will be used to buy up to 200 new CNG (compressed natural gas) buses.

The project will also give private companies and women a greater role in public transport around the city. The municipal company Almatyelectrotrans will hire and train enough women bus drivers to operate one entire route, creating at least 40-45 new jobs for women.

The new project is part of an integrated approach to urban transport in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s biggest city. Almaty’s municipal bus, tram and trolleybus company has already embarked on a far-reaching reform, with the help of EBRD financing.

The city is already working on procuring CNG buses and trolleybuses and has built the electrical substations they need. It is now preparing to transform an old tram line into a new light rail system and launch an intelligent transportation system as well as integrated eticketing. The EBRD is either already financing these improvements or is considering financing them. In addition, the EBRD is arranging US$ 686,000 in grants from international
donors and its own funds to support this transport reform in Almaty. The city itself is providing about US$ 600,000 in grants for consultancy services and training.

“The EBRD and the city of Almaty share a vision: we believe in greener, safer and more modern transport for this ambitious city”, said Thomas Maier, EBRD Managing Director for Infrastructure. “Since the city first shared its vision with the Bank in 2009 and the two became strategic partners, passenger numbers served by Almatyelectrotrans have surged from 15 million to 48 million per year. This new project we are signing today will further help Almaty become a faster-moving and cleaner city”.

The loan agreement was signed in Almaty by Mr Thomas Maier from the EBRD and the CEO of Almatyelectrotrans, the municipal urban transport company, Mr Kopzhasar Dakenov.

Since the beginning of its operations in Kazakhstan, the EBRD has invested over US$ 6 billion in the country’s economy in over 160 projects. In 2012, the Bank invested over US$ 500 million in Kazakhstan.