EBRD and Taiwan ICDF are to finance electric buses for Sofia Elektrotransport (Photo: EBRD).

BULGARIA: The European Bank for Reconstruction & Development and Taiwan International Co-operation and Development Fund’s Green Energy Special Fund are to jointly provide tram and trolleybus operator Sofia Elektrotransport with a €7·35m loan to support the acquisition of electric buses under the first phase of a programme to modernise the capital’s fleet.

The loan will finance the acquisition of up to 15 low-floor electric buses with fast-charging technology and six charging stations. Deployment is planned for 2019, replacing diesel vehicles to reduce overall emissions and operating costs.

If the first phase is deemed successful, the Bank and GESF would provide an additional €7·35m loan in 2019 to finance a second batch of electric buses and charging stations.

The city of Sofia is currently developing a Green Cities Action Plan with EBRD and supported by donor funds. This is to be published in 2019, and will set out a sustainable approach to urban transport, air pollution, water management and other environmental issues.