The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a loan agreement worth €115 million with public transport provider RET of Rotterdam and the Metropole-region Rotterdam-The Hague (MRDH).
RET will use the financing to acquire new electric and diesel-hybrid buses and install related charging infrastructure. It will also renew tram and metro tracks in various points around the city.
Earlier, the EIB already financed the new metros running on the recently opened “Hoekse Lijn” from Rotterdam centre to Hoek van Holland.
The financing is made possible with support from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Debt Instrument and from the Juncker Plan’s European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). RET will also receive a subsidy from CEF for the investments towards electric buses and the related charging infrastructure.
European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, said: “We are happy to support Rotterdam’s efforts in making its public transport more sustainable through the Investment Plan for Europe. The city sets an example for the transition to low-emission mobility across Europe.”
RET is set to put Rotterdam ten years ahead of Holland’s deadline for the transition to emission-free vehicles, set for 2030, with plans to acquire 105 electric buses and 103 diesel-hybrid variants, and supporting charging infrastructure comprised of 32 charging points at depots, and a further 17 charging points on routes around the city. Finally, RET will also renew the metro and tram tracks in nearly 70 locations around the city.
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The EIB is directly owned and guaranteed by the EU’s 28 Member States, which means it can borrow money very cheaply on the capital market. The bank forwards this interest rate advantage to its clients, since the EIB does not need to make a profit, but only cover its costs. This means RET will spend less on interest payments as well as a 15 year tenor on the loan.
“This loan allows us to keep the cost of capital very low since we benefit from the low-interest rate that the EIB offers. Over the coming years, we will gradually pay back the loan through our revenues, such as ticket sales and operating subsidies. This will also allow us to stay true to our goal of keeping the costs for the traveller as low as possible”, Frank Hoevenaars, CFO of RET, added.