Sofia Mayor Unveils Ambitious Plan for Urban Transport Revamp

Society | June 12, 2024, Wednesday // 17:01
Bulgaria: Sofia Mayor Unveils Ambitious Plan for Urban Transport Revamp Photo: Stella Ivanova

The Mayor of Sofia, Vasil Terziev, unveiled plans for a comprehensive overhaul of urban transportation in the city, extending beyond the current municipal administration's tenure. Terziev announced the initiative during a briefing today, highlighting that the program's budget would exceed BGN 1 billion, with implementation spread out until 2030.

Terziev emphasized that the focus on improving public transport does not entail neglecting infrastructure development for cars. He stressed the aim to make public transport more attractive and efficient, rather than coercively diverting people from using cars. Describing the program as ambitious, Terziev indicated its continuation beyond the current administration.

While the metro expansion remains a priority with plans for 12 new stations, Terziev underscored the program's primary focus on urban transport modes that received lesser attention previously, notably trams. A significant portion of the allocated funds, amounting to BGN 608 million, will be directed towards tram modernization and acquisition.

According to Municipal Councilor Andrey Zografski, a substantial investment is planned for new trams, including 110 brand-new units and the total refurbishment of 40 existing ones abroad. Zografski emphasized the need for upgraded tram infrastructure to enhance service quality and address both qualitative and quantitative transport requirements over the next five years.

The initiative will introduce new low-floor trams for eastern districts, along with innovative tram designs that eliminate the need for turning wheels. Shorter trams are also slated for deployment on less congested routes to optimize efficiency. Additionally, attention will be directed towards enhancing trolleybus services, introducing hybrid models capable of charging while in motion, inspired by successful implementations in other European capitals.

Deputy Mayor Ivan Vasilev outlined plans to seek funding opportunities through EU operational programs and engage with financial institutions to secure loans, contingent on approval by the Municipal Council. Vasilev stressed the importance of council support for advancing the preliminary stages of the ambitious transportation modernization project.

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Tags: sofia, terziev, transport

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