Plans to open Quito’s very first metro line have taken a significant step forward after being awarded a $205 million loan by the World Bank.

Ecuador’s new metro is expected to carry 400,000 passengers around the South American city every day once open.

In total, the project is expected to cost around $1.5 billion, with funding coming from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF).

Money is also being made available by the local and national governments.

Announcing the approval of the loan, the World Bank said: “It is the first time an infrastructure project of this nature has been undertaken in Ecuador, and as such it is a national and local priority.”

The 23-kilometre metro will be built in two phases. Phase one is already underway, with stations under construction at La Magdalena and El Labrador.

Phase two will include the construction of 13 more stations, access tunnels, a depot and sub-systems.

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