Huge makeover beckons for Sofia’s public transport system

Local residents and visitors alike can look forward to using more efficient public transport in Bulgaria’s capital thanks to a major project which will revamp infrastructure and deliver a new fleet of vehicles.

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This major scheme complements Sofia’s urban transport development strategy and includes the construction of a new tram line, the installation of an Intelligent Traffic System (ITS), purchasing a fleet of 50 trolleybuses and the provision of start-of-the-art passenger information boards. The changes will lead to quicker journey times, safer travel and better access to the city’s transport system, particularly for disabled people.

The city is keen to introduce sustainable improvements to the public transport system which will supplement the development of its metro system. New trolleybus and tram routes, along with a reorganisation of existing bus routes, should help deliver a seamless travel experience for Sofia’s 1.3 million residents and the million-plus tourists who visit the city every year. One of the key aims is to make life easier for the 690 000 people who use public transport each day to get to and from work.

Wide-ranging scheme

The project includes the following major elements:

  • ITS equipment will be installed at 20 intersections (seven of these intersections will require physical works to accommodate the system). ITS will provide priority to public transport at signalled intersections. Each unit will operate on a stand alone basis, except where they are close to each other.
  • Construction and modernisation of tram lines has two components. One is for the construction of a 2.8 km twin-track line from the junction of Stoyan Mihaylovski Street and Peyo K. Yavorov Boulevard to the junction of Sv. Kliment Ohridski Boulevard and Dr. G. M. Dimitrov Boulevard. The second is for the reconstruction of 1.8 km of track located alongside Sv. Kliment Ohridski Boulevard to the turnaround loop at Darvenitsa.
  • Tram line modernisation at Bulgaria Boulevard will include reconstruction of platforms, repair of subway structures, replacement of track and overhead line systems and installation of electronic information boards.
  • The 50 new trolleybuses will serve on the busiest routes. Each trolleybus is 18 m long and capable of carrying up to 160 passengers. They have a low-floor design for easy access.
  • To make public transport more convenient for passengers, 600 new electronic information boards are to be installed at stops on busy intersections in central and sub-urban parts of the city.
  • A specialised, rail-mounted vehicle for the repair and maintenance of overhead power lines will be purchased. It will be adaptable to different gauges so it can service Sofia’s entire network of electrified transport lines.

In addition, the scheme will pay for a marketing and legal study to assess leasing rights for the installation, operation and maintenance of 400 shelters at public transport stops.

The project is expected to create 453 jobs during the 12-month implementation period, and a further 20 during the operational phase.


Total and EU funding

The project “Sofia Integrated Urban Transport Project” has a total eligible budget of EUR 62 624 478, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 42 500 000 for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.


Draft date

23/01/2013