By Khalid Neimat

AMMAN – Prime Minister Samir Rifai on Thursday said the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project is an important step towards developing a comprehensive public transportation system in Amman, describing it as a “great achievement”.

The premier laid the foundation stone for the project in a ceremony, during which he said the BRT project will contribute to solving the capital’s traffic problem while helping to reduce fuel consumption and expenses.

“The project comes in line with the government’s plans to improve public transportation services across the Kingdom,” Rifai said, adding that other cities should adopt similar systems.

The new system is based on premium, high-capacity buses that will travel in completely segregated lanes in a bid to add value to the public transportation system and facilitate movement within the capital, according to the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM).

The BRT line will initially run along Queen Rania Street, with plans to build and operate the BRT on three routes: Mahatta to Sweileh (15km); Muhajireen to Sports City (7km); and Mahatta to Customs Square (nearly 8km).

The municipality started construction on the first phase of the project last month.

Amman Mayor Omar Maani, who accompanied Rifai on his visit to the BRT project site on Queen Rania Street, said: “The public transportation sector in Amman will see tangible progress in quality in the next four years.”

Maani said this improvement will be shown not only in new means of transportation such as the BRT, but also in the rehabilitation of sidewalks and car parking spaces.

“Citizens will feel this progress in all aspects of public transportation,” he said, expressing confidence that the project would help create a new culture of transportation in Amman by encouraging citizens to use public transit services rather than private cars.

Also yesterday, Rifai laid the foundation stone for the King Faisal Circle development project in downtown Amman.

He called on concerned authorities to speed up implementation of all service and development projects.

The King Faisal Circle project will sustain urban spaces and protect heritage locations in downtown Amman in addition to stimulating commercial activities there, according to the GAM press centre.

The 10-month project will include renovation of several streets and sidewalks in the city centre, to reflect the spirit of old Amman, making it a destination for visitors and residents, GAM said.