EBRD to finance additional “green” buses for Tbilisi

By Loretta Martikian

tbilisi bus

  • Investment to cut emissions and improve mobility
  • Tbilisi to benefit from an additional 200 modern, environmentally friendly buses
  • Making Tbilisi greener while increasing the reliability, safety and efficiency of public transport

The EBRD is bringing an additional 200 modern, low-floor buses to Tbilisi in response to the ever-growing demand for public transport in Georgia’s fast-growing capital city.

The Bank is extending an €80 million sovereign loan to Georgia to be on-lent to Tbilisi City for the benefit of the Tbilisi Transport Company to acquire an additional 200 new buses, fuelled by compressed natural gas, as well as rehabilitation of the bus depots.

The project builds on the success of the Tbilisi Bus project that was signed in 2016, under which the Bank extended €27 million to purchase 143 buses. The blue buses have dramatically improved the service for the city’s 1.2 million inhabitants by increasing the reliability, safety and efficiency of public transport, using modern vehicles to reduce emissions. In addition, the low-floor buses helped to accommodate passengers with limited movement, including the elderly and the disabled.

This project is part of a wider undertaking that aims to enhance public transport mobility for Tbilisi and will include a restructuring of the current bus routes as well as priority lanes, where possible, to allow more fluid movement for the new buses in the city.

The EBRD will also continue to support the Tbilisi Transport Company with a gender advisory services programme, ensuring equal employment opportunities through the introduction of appropriate policies and practices while promoting gender equality among the workforce and providing training to enable women to become bus drivers. Thanks to the programme Tbilisi Transport Company already has 22 female drivers.  

“This is yet another step to strengthen our longstanding engagement with the city of Tbilisi. We are delighted to facilitate the acquisition of these new buses. The demand for quality public transport remains very high. The original buses were very well received by the public due to the improved environmental and safety standards. Our priority is to improve lives for the citizens of Georgia and therefore, we hope to develop similar projects with other cities in Georgia,” said Catarina Bjorlin Hansen, EBRD Regional Director for Caucasus.

This project is a follow-on investment under the Green Cities Action Plan for Tbilisi where bus fleet renewal was identified as one of the priority investments. The goal of the EBRD’s Green Cities Framework is to achieve significant environmental improvements and promote green investments within selected cities. It combines investment with capacity building and facilitates coordination among stakeholders to improve governance, operational efficiency and financial sustainability. On this basis, for each participating city, a specific Green City Action Plan is developed and implemented.

The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Georgia. Since the start of its operations in the country, the Bank has invested over €3.5 billion in 237 projects in the financial, corporate, infrastructure and energy sectors, with 89 per cent of these investments in the private sector.