The delivery of 15 new buses to Pristina today marked the beginning of a new era of public transport in the capital of Kosovo. The buses will offer a more comfortable and environmentally friendly service.
In June 2016 the EBRD signed an agreement for a loan of up to €10 million to the municipal transport company Trafiku Urban to finance the purchase of 51 diesel buses that comply with Euro 6 emissions standards. The loan was fully guaranteed by the government, represented by the Ministry of Finance.
The first 15 buses were delivered today and they will be immediately put into service on routes connecting east and north-east Pristina. The delivery of the first buses was marked in a ceremony in Pristina attended by Shpend Ahmeti, the Mayor of Pristina; Ivo Šilhavý, the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Kosovo; Lin O’Grady, EBRD Deputy Director for Municipal and Environmental Infrastructure; and Elena Petrovska, EBRD Head of Kosovo.
Mayor Ahmeti said: “The introduction of the new buses marks the beginning of a major reform of public transport in Pristina. They will offer sustainable and modern service to our citizens and significantly reduce pollution. It is the first EBRD public municipal investment in Kosovo. The loan for the buses will be complemented by technical assistance grants.”
On behalf of the EBRD, Ms O’Grady and Ms Petrovska expressed satisfaction with the start of the implementation of the Bank’s first municipal project in Kosovo. The project also includes the introduction of performance-based public service contracts and a sustainable urban mobility plan with the goal of boosting private sector participation and supporting the sustainable economic development of the municipality.
The EBRD’s sovereign loan to Trafiku Urban is supported by donor funding of €600,000 provided by the Czech Republic for the preparation and implementation of the project as well as the sustainable urban mobility plan for the city of Pristina.
Mr Šilhavý said: “A well-functioning and environmental friendly public transport provides a prosperous and healthy life for a city. I am delighted that public transport in Pristina is being transformed into a modern system. The Czech Republic is supporting Kosovo on its path to the EU. This means not only political support but also support to improve people’s standards of living. Thanks to the EBRD investment, new buses are entering into service right now. Fewer emissions and less noise, more reliability and comfort – this is the message that these buses are bringing.”
The new fleet of diesel buses will significantly reduce levels of air pollution and noise in the city. They will also improve the reliability, safety and quality of public transport as well as boost operational efficiency. The old buses will be phased out as the new ones enter into service.
The EBRD’s strategy in Kosovo focuses on strengthening private sector competitiveness and reinforcing the investment climate as well as upgrading public infrastructure and addressing shortcomings in the energy sector. These goals are embedded in Kosovo’s integration process with the EU.
The EBRD began investing in Kosovo in 1999. To date, the Bank has signed 51 projects in the country with a cumulative business volume of close to €220 million. Kosovo became an EBRD member and country of operations in December 2012.