The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is helping to modernise public transport in the Romanian city of Pitesti with a RON 58.5 million loan (â‚¬13 million equivalent) to the municipal transport company Publitrans S.A.
The EBRD loan will allow the city to upgrade its aging fleet with the purchase of 70 new environmentally friendly buses. This will not only improve the quality of urban transport in the city, but will also enhance mobility for Pitesti residents. The loan will also be used to introduce an automated fare collection system by a private company.
Pitesti, the capital of Arges county, is a mid-sized city with over 150,000 residents, some 100 km west of Bucharest. Not only is it a major industrial, cultural and commercial centre, but it also serves as a transport hub and is home to the Dacia car manufacturing plant, a subsidiary of Renault, and adjacent industries.
In 2009 the city launched a significant infrastructure investment programme. Several main streets have been upgraded since, improving traffic and road safety conditions. Investing in the modernisation of public transport is the municipalityâ€™s next step in the development of urban infrastructure.
Under the agreement, the EBRD will also facilitate a twinning partnership through which Publitrans will work with a bus operator from another European Union (EU) member state. The operator will help the company adopt a commercial approach, develop a sound business plan and introduce a performance-based public service contract. As required by EU regulations, a performance-based public service contract will define the rights and obligations of the municipality and the public transport company, and will help ensure commercially sustainable operations.
Jean-Patrick Marquet, EBRD Director for Municipal and Environmental Infrastructure, said: â€œWe are pleased to bring modern transport solutions to Pitesti. For the residents of the city this will mean a safer, more efficient and higher-quality commute with less CO2 emissions, and the company will adapt its corporate system in line with EU standards.â€
The EBRD is the largest institutional investor in Romania. To date, the Bank has invested approximately â‚¬6.7 billion across 364 projects in the country. It has also mobilised over â‚¬14 billion for these ventures from other sources of financing.