YEREVAN — The Children’s Fund of Armenia (COAF) and the Japanese Embassy in Armenia celebrated the inauguration of a new bus service as part of a larger initiative designed to improve rural public transport in the Armenian region of Lori. This collaboration will expand the region’s public transportation system and upgrade it with four key objectives: to ensure that public transportation is accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities; improving the quality of transport services to better meet passenger needs; revitalize intra-regional mobility and improve environmental compatibility.
Earlier this year, COAF and the Japanese Embassy in Armenia signed a grant agreement, channeling more than US$90,000 into upgrading Lori’s transit system. As part of the initiative, COAF purchased a new state-of-the-art bus, making travel accessible to all who pass through the region, including the elderly and people with disabilities. The new service will operate at higher frequencies, linking seven rural communities, with integrated stops at the COAF SMART center in the village of Debet and the future health center in Dsegh.
To provide passengers with easily identifiable stops equipped with necessary travel information, COAF will construct four shelters and two bus signs in communities along the Dsegh-Vanadzor road starting this month. These efforts complement a previous project implemented by COAF, whereby the organization established a new fully equipped bus stop as part of its SMART Village initiative implemented in the village of Lori’s Debet.
Along with upgrading infrastructure, COAF will promote the use of digital technology to increase access to public transport. This will include the launch of an app to provide real-time travel information and a cashless payment option. Residents will also receive reloadable bus cards to facilitate their travels.
The event was held at the COAF SMART Center in Debet, Lori, with opening remarks from the Ambassador of Japan to Armenia, HE Mr. Masanori Fukushima, Deputy Provincial Governor Lori Hovhannes Avetisyan and Director General of the COAF Korioun Khatchadourian. During the ceremony, participants were taken on an inaugural bus to Debet Municipality where COAF handed over the bus to the non-profit community service organization “Pambak Communal”.