Varna Integrated Urban Transport Project



Project number:


Business sector:

Municipal and environmental infrastructure

Notice type:


Environmental category:


Approval date:

26 Feb 2013



PSD disclosed:

12 Oct 2012

Translated version of this PSD: Bulgarian

Project Description

The EBRD is considering providing a loan of up to EUR 6.4 million to the City of Varna (“City” or “Municipality”), representing the Bank’s co-financing of the City’s Integrated Urban Transport Project funded with EU grants under Operational Programme "Regional Development" (“OPRD”).

The Project involves implementation of a package of complementary components in compliance with the specific objectives of the OPRD, which focuses on the development of sustainable urban transport in the third largest city in Bulgaria. The main components of the Project include:

  • Introduction of a 14.85 km Bus Rapid Transit (“BRT”) corridor to reduce travel times and increase public transport usage.
  • Introduction of a system for provision of public urban transport vehicles priority at intersections along BRT corridor.
  • Deployment of an electronic ticketing system on-board public transport vehicles and at bus stops.
  • Deployment of a real-time passenger information system at bus stops and on-board public transport vehicles.
  • Development of a public urban transport management centre.
  • Rolling stock renewal, featuring the acquisition of 50 diesel EURO 6 buses and 20 compressed natural gas buses.
  • Upgrade of three bus terminals and rehabilitation and modernization of a bus depot.
  • Development of new cycling facilities, including 16.3 km of cycling paths, parking facilities, cycling campaign and a bike rental scheme.

Transition Impact

Improved contractual framework for markets achieved through:

Public Service Contact (PSC): An EU-compliant PSC will be developed and introduced between the City and the incumbent municipally-owned public transport operator Gradski Transport EAD. The PSC constitutes a new multi-year contractual arrangement between the City and the public transport operator. It will establish a solid framework for service delivery, cost controls, compensation levels, and regulation of a key public service. This PSC should also be adopted for any private sector bus operations, such as the regional lines.

Revised Public Transport Scheme (PTS): Assistance to the City to revise its public transport scheme with the objective to eliminate doubling lines to the BRT, introduce feeder lines to the BTR and improve the overall efficiency of the routes.

Revised parking strategy with increased private sector participation: EBRD will assist the City in designing and launching a full on-street parking scheme to be implemented according to commercial principles for short-term visitors in downtown Varna. The private sector will also be involved contractually in running the back-office payment collection and distribution system as well as SMS-based payments with mobile phone providers.

The Client

The City of Varna – the third largest city in Bulgaria, a major Black Sea port and a leading industrial and commercial centre.

EBRD Finance

Loan of up to EUR 6.4 million to the City, representing the Bank’s co-financing of the City’s Integrated Urban Transport Project funded with EU grants under OPRD.

Project Cost

Total Project cost amounts to EUR 58.68 million of which up to EUR 39.6 million will be provided by the EU on a grant basis and up to EUR 6.4 will be sourced from the national budget.

Environmental Impact

Based on the results and findings of the due diligence, an Environmental and Social Action Plan (ESAP) has been prepared for the Company based on the results of the ESDD, outlining potential improvement opportunities and mitigation measures to avoid, minimise or mitigate any adverse impacts arising from the Project implementation. The ESAP includes a variety of actions on enhancing the Company's corporate environmental, health and safety and social management practices and systems to manage E&S issues and impacts associated with their activities in line with EBRD's PRs. The Environmental Management Plan measures proposed as part of the EU application already include specific measures for protection of the atmospheric air, for water and soils protection, green areas preservation and reinstatement, noise and vibration related measures, as well as waste management. This EMP has been further enhanced with some additional actions and mitigation measures to meet EBRD's PRs, particularly including contractor management procedures and adequacy of EHSS requirements in tender documents, existing bus fleet recycling/disposal plans, development and implementation of a Stakeholder Engagement Plan incl. a grievance mechanism for both construction and operation phases, and preparation of E&S monitoring plan for the Project.

For the additional flood control channels rehabilitation project component in 2016 in Asparuhovo District an additional detailed ESDD in line with EBRD's 2014 Environmental and Social Policy (ESP)  has been separately conducted by independent consultants. The Bulgarian competent authorities have also carried out an environmental screening procedure in line with EU EIA Directive and concluded that no Environmental Impact Assessment for the project is required.

The rehabilitation of the flood control channels will bring substantial safety improvements and benefits for the population of the Asparuhovo District. This project component will require that the City acquires certain privately-owned land plots and removes a limited number of informal structures built on municipal land.

These activities are not expected to result into permanent physical displacement of people; however, the affected people will have to be compensated  for the loss of (and/or damage to) assets in line with the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) prepared for the project in line with the objectives of EBRD's PR5. The City will be required to implement the activities set out in the RAP. Moreover, the ESAP has been updated to include additional measures to mitigate any adverse impacts arising from the rehabilitation and subsequent operation of the flood control channels. A new SEP has also been prepared to ensure that affected residents and businesses are informed about likely disruptions, temporary traffic arrangements/re-routing, and have access to grievance mechanisms.

Environmental monitoring of the operation of the Project will be integrated within the City's existing monitoring procedures. The Bank will also monitor Project implementation issues through annual environmental and social reporting, including updates on ESAP, RAP and SEP implementation. The Bank's environmental and social staff or consultants will conduct monitoring visits if and when deemed necessary.

A non-technical summary of a flood channels rehabilitation project component will be disclosed locally and is also attached in English and Bulgarian.

Technical Cooperation

The Bank will provide, subject to donor funds availability, the following post-signing Technical Cooperation:

  • Assistance to the City to complete an EU-compliant PSC for Varna - EUR 100,000.
  • Assistance to the City to revise its Public transport scheme with the objective to eliminate doubling lines to the BRT, introduce feeder lines to the BTR and improve the overall efficiency of the routes – EUR 100,000.
  • Assistance to the City to prepare a parking strategy, introduce blue zone, and on-street parking fare collection system, and a tender documentation and support for the design, supply and maintenance of the system to the private sector EUR 150,000.

Business opportunities

For business opportunities or procurement, contact the client company.

For state-sector projects, visit EBRD Procurement: Tel: +44 20 7338 6794

General enquiries

EBRD project enquiries not related to procurement:
Tel: +44 20 7338 7168

Public Information Policy (PIP)

The PIP sets out how the EBRD discloses information and consults with its stakeholders so as to promote better awareness and understanding of its strategies, policies and operations. Please visit the Public Information Policy page below to find out how to request a Public Sector Board Report.
Text of the PIP

Independent Project Accountability Mechanism (IPAM)

If efforts to address environmental, social or public disclosure concerns with the Client or the Bank are unsuccessful (e.g. through the Client’s Project-level grievance mechanism or through direct engagement with Bank management), individuals and organisations may seek to address their concerns through the EBRD’s Independent Project Accountability Mechanism (IPAM).

IPAM independently reviews Project issues that are believed to have caused (or to be likely to cause) harm. The purpose of the Mechanism is: to support dialogue between Project stakeholders to resolve environmental, social and public disclosure issues; to determine whether the Bank has complied with its Environmental and Social Policy or Project-specific provisions of its Access to Information Policy; and where applicable, to address any existing non-compliance with these policies, while preventing future non-compliance by the Bank.

Please visit the Independent Project Accountability Mechanism webpage to find out how to submit a Request for review through our confidential online form, by email, mail or telephone. IPAM is available to discuss your concerns and answer any questions you may have about the submission or handling of Requests, which follow the Project Accountability Policy and Guidance. Requestors’ identities may be kept confidential, upon request.

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