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The World Bank has approved a US$250mn loan to expand and develop bus-based mass-transit projects in Colombia. The loan will be used to fund projects in cities such as Pereira, Cartagena, Barranquilla, Soacha, Bucaramanga, Medellí­n and capital Bogotí¡. The total project cost is US$464mn.

The integrated mass transit systems project is intended to improve mobility along strategic mass transit corridors in select cities, improve access for the poor through the provision of more feeder services and fare integration to decrease user costs, and improve planning and management at the local and national level.

“The Transmilenio bus transit system [in Bogotí¡] has been a success, and this project will try to replicate that experience by tailoring it to the specific conditions of other cities,” says Mauricio Cuellar, World Bank task manager for the project.

The loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development has a 14-year term with an eight-year grace period.