HCM City plans to have its first modern bus rapid transit system to be ready by the end of 2018, according to the official entrusted with setting it up.

Luong Minh Phuc, Head of the HCM City Urban Civil Works Construction Investment Management Authority (UCCI), which will develop the first BRT, said by the end of next year his agency would complete a detailed design, offer bids for contracts and work with local authorities to acquire land.

Work on the first line is scheduled to begin in early 2017, he said.

Recently the World Bank's Board of Executive Directors approved a 124 million USD plan to improve the performance and efficiency of public transport in the city.

The bank is funding a project to develop BRT systems in three major cities: HCM City, Hanoi, and Da Nang.

HCM City's first line will be on the Vo Van Kiet-Mai Chi Tho highway, connecting An Lac intersection in Binh Tan district and Rach Chiec in District 2, a distance of 28 kilometres, and have 28 stations.

It will be able to transport 28,300 passengers a day.

Its design will factor in the needs of women, children and people with disabilities, comprising features like keeping bus and station floors at the same level so that passengers can board and alight and load strollers easily.

The project will also fund at least 28 buses running on compressed natural gas (CNG), a clean fuel.

The project will cost $137.45 million, which will include a loan of 124 million USD from the World Bank. The rest will be provided by the Government.

HCM City is also working on five other BRT lines that will complete the public transport system, according to UCCI.-VNA