In December 2019, crowds stood in long lines wrapped around the municipal building in Port Louis, Mauritius, waiting for the chance for a free ticket on the Metro Express Light Rail.
This was no ordinary train ride.
The new light rail is part of Mauritius’ strategic bet to develop a sustainable transport infrastructure (The GEF, PDF) that will help reduce green house gas (GHG) emissions and traffic congestion; as well as mitigate the impact of climate change.
Once finished, the light rail will cover 19 stops, serving the busiest routes in high population density areas in Mauritius. A new fleet of 30 e-buses, powered in part by renewable energy, will ensure last mile connectivity to residential neighbourhoods.
The modernisation of the sector also includes developing smart digital applications to help commuters plan their journeys.
A switch to clean mobility
Mauritius is heavily reliant on fossil fuels to power its economy. The result is that its GHG emissions increase by 3% each year, with the energy and transport sectors accounting for 86% of these emissions.
According to government estimates, over 60% of the population use buses at least once a week, and more than 3,000 buses carry up to 700,000 people every day, traveling over 140 million km each year.
By using a combination of solar and grid electricity power charging, each e-bus could help reduce at least 36.5 tons of CO2 emissions per year (UNEP), with a total of about 10,950 tons CO2 by 2030.
So, switching to a low carbon transportation offers a significant pathway to improving the country's energy security, while also reducing GHG emissions as per Mauritius’ commitments under the Paris Agreement.