The EBRD is helping to raise the standards of public transport in Bulgaria providing financing for modern buses and an innovative e-ticketing system.
The bank is lending €6 million to Hebros Bus Ltd, the largest privately owned regional transport operator providing public transport services in Plovdiv and in southern Bulgaria.
The proceeds of the loan will be used to acquire 30 new buses running on natural gas. These will replace old diesel vehicles currently being used in Plovdiv. Hebros Bus will invest additional €1.3 million to build its own fuelling station for the new bus fleet and to refurbish two interurban bus stations.
While considerably cutting gas emissions, the new buses will help the company reduce operating costs by €500,000 annually, due to lower fuel and maintenance costs.
The Bank’s credit is complemented by grant funds from the Dutch government, which will help the city of Plovdiv introduce an innovative electronic ticketing system. The new system will make public transport more convenient to Plovdiv citizens. It will also increase transparency in the ticketing system and improve fare collection revenue.
To foster the modernisation of the public transport sector in Bulgaria, the EBRD will also help the city of Plovdiv implement an EU-compliant Public Service Contract for all public transport operators.
“With the EBRD support, Hebros Bus will become a model private operator in Bulgaria to provide services in accordance with EU environmental standards. This project will set new and improved standards in the Bulgarian passenger transport sector”, said James Hyslop, EBRD Director for Bulgaria.
“With the signing of the financing agreement with the EBRD, we set the beginning of a long term cooperation with the Bank for modernising transport services, hopefully not only in the city of Plovdiv, but elsewhere in the region. This project will help Hebros Bus develop into a modern European transport company”, commented Vesselin Doshkov, General Manager of Hebros Bus.
Since the beginning of its operations in Bulgaria, the EBRD has committed over €1.8 billion million in more than 120 projects in the financial services, corporate, infrastructure and energy sectors. Working with its many partners, the Bank has mobilised more than EUR 6.6 billion for projects in Bulgaria.