Urban transport operator Sofia Electrical Transport Company (SETC), wholly-owned by the City of Sofia, is set to get a EUR 14.7 million loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to enhance its bus fleet through the purchase of 30 low-floor electric buses with fast charging technology and 12 charging stations, as well as the related spare parts and services.
The project has been approved by the EBRD board, according to the lender’s website. The electric bus fleet will be deployed in two lots of 15 each over 2018-2019. Accordingly, the loan will be split in two equal tranches of EUR 7.35 million each.
Sofia is continuing to invest in its transport infrastructure and services in order to incentivize the use of public transport as a sustainable, safer and more environmentally friendly means of meeting mobility demand in the city. To that end, the EBRD’s financing will contribute to the improvement of the reliability, energy efficiency and quality of public transport services for users and the SETC by reducing fuel costs and noise levels, and improving air quality through reduced greenhouse gases and other harmful emissions, the project summary document reads.
The new electric bus fleet will operate on six routes currently using Euro 3 diesel buses. As a result, once implemented the project is expected to reduce CO2 emissions from 3,127 tonnes per year to 1,445 tonnes per year, a reduction of approximately 54%.
The project will support the development of a comprehensive Green City Action Plan (GCAP) for Sofia. The GCAP will require the City to measure, benchmark and prioritize environmental issues and identify appropriate mitigation actions and investments. Such a plan will set a vision and benchmarks for the sustainable development of the City and help authorities to prioritize and make informed decisions regarding investments and reforms aimed at addressing identified challenges, according to the EBRD’s website.