The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) provided a loan of €57.1 million ($69 million) to Turkish public transport company EGO, the bank said on Thursday. 

The capital Ankara will enjoy cleaner air thanks to the loan which will help EGO, a state-owned company affiliated to Ankara Metropolitan Municipality, renew its fleet with 254 compressed natural gas busses, according to the statement.

The agreement confirmed Ankara as the 44th member of EBRD Green Cities, the bank’s flagship urban sustainability program.

Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavas stressed that the municipality works to invest in infrastructure projects to increase efficiency and improve the quality of lives.

Sustainable Infrastructure Group Managing Director Nandita Parshad underlined that the new buses will significantly reduce air pollution in the city.

“The project also recognizes the realities of our time (COVID-19) as this increase in operational capacity is essential to ensure safe social distancing on buses, which in turn will deter a shift back to cars,” Parshad noted.

Arvid Tuerkner, EBRD’s managing director for Turkey, said the cooperation is expected to attract other lenders to the city’s future investments.

Ankara Metropolitan Municipality, with a population of 5.7 million, is the second-largest city in Turkey after Istanbul.

Noting that the population is growing at about 2% a year which puts pressure on urban transport, the statement highlighted that Ankara is developing a greener future by investing in its public transport system and working on a comprehensive strategy to improve its environmental performance.

Bus services in Ankara are managed by Ankara Electricity, Gas and Bus Operations Organization (EGO Directorate General).

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