Amman-Zarqa light railway faces cancellation

22 March 2011

The project will be replaced by a bus network

Jordan’s Transport Ministry is expected to cancel the planned $550m Amman-Zarqa light railway network project in favour of a bus rapid transport (BRT) network.

However, a definite decision will be made by the end of next month.

“The decision is going to be in late April. [The] tendency is to go for BRT,” says Mohannad Qudah, Jordan’s transport minister.

In September 2010, the former transport minister Alaa Batayneh said that a bus rapid transit system was being considered to replace the Amman-Zarqa light railway transit (LRT) as it is too expensive to develop (MEED 29:9:10).

The bus network is likely to be one quarter of the cost of the LRT. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the Washington-based World Bank, is the transaction consultant for the LRT project.

An LRT network is also planned for Amman city. In April 2010, France’s Egis Rail won the contract for the feasibility and preliminary design of Amman’s $1.2bn LRT. The first phase will link downtown Raghadan to the University of Jordan street. Later phases will see the metro connected with the airport.

This project is still under study.

In a separate project, Amman Municipality is inviting companies to submit bids by 18 April for the construction of facilities for a bus rapid transit system that will be used to serve Amman city.

The bus rapid transit system will cover Greater Amman and will consist of dedicated bus lanes, passenger stations, articulated buses, and management and information systems.

The system will run along three main routes with a total length of 32 kilometres. The French Development Agency (AFD) is partially funding this BRT network.


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