Towards a climate neutral EU:
efficient allocation of EU funds

Vratsa Municipality's project to modernise urban transport and improve air quality

Organisation: Economic Policy Institute Website: Added: January 05, 2023
Project start date: November 05, 2019
Project end date: August 05, 2023


Brief description of the project

The objective of the project proposal is to improve the ambient air quality in the Municipality of Vratsa by reducing the levels of fine particulate matter and nitrogen oxides as a result of the replacement and modernisation of the rolling stock of mass public transport. It is planned to deliver 13 new electric buses and 9 new trolleybuses that meet EU standards on harmful emissions from engines and the use of renewable energy sources in urban transport. Specialised equipment to optimise the operation of the trolleybuses and the installation of charging stations for the electric buses are planned. The project includes activities for the supply of electric vehicles; specialised services; optimisation of the operation of the newly acquired vehicles, including the implementation of an integrated transport management system (for electronic charging and real-time passenger information), collision avoidance systems, reconstruction of the overhead contact network, construction of cable routes to the charging stations and supply and installation of TIS (Electric Rectifier Station) cassettes, initial registration and insurance, publicity measures. The activities have been developed following a cost-benefit analysis which has proven the appropriateness of the project and the sustainability of the results. The expected results include the reduction in the levels of PM, noise and vibration and energy savings, a reduction in the use of non-renewable energy sources, such as diesel and its replacement by the use of electricity, the development of sustainable urban transport, a reduction in the use of private cars, an increase in the proportion of users of public transport services, which through the implementation of the project becomes attractive, convenient and safe.

Project activities

Preparation activities: 1. Preparation of a Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA); 2. Preparation of a cost-benefit analysis and calculation of a result indicator for the indicator FPH10 in the city of Vratsa; Thesee activities have been outsourced to contractors with experience in the relevant areas before the submission of the project proposal.

Implementation activities: Purchase and supply of electric vehicles and charging stations. Optimising the operation of newly acquired vehicles. Optimising the operation of newly acquired vehicles. Providing the necessary infrastructure. Optimising the operation of newly acquired vehicles. Construction supervision. Initial vehicle registration and insurance. Specialised services, such as carrying out a feasibility study for the reconstruction of the existing overhead contact line network. Prior to the award of the contract for the reconstruction of the existing overhead contact line network, it is necessary to carry out a feasibility study for the reconstruction of the existing overhead contact line network. It will show the number and length of the most urgent sections to be repaired, taking into account the type of new trolleybuses in due time. Consultancy services to update the Public Service Contract (PSC) for public passenger transport.

Good practices and innovations

The project of Vratsa Municipality to modernise urban transport and improve air quality was presented as a successful example of investment with European funds in the European Parliament. The transport renewal project was showcased during a meeting of the EU Cohesion Policy Monitoring Group, which held a meeting during a plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Besides Bulgaria, the meeting also highlighted projects from Austria, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Croatia and Romania as successful investments. Nine new trolleybuses and thirteen electric buses have been bought under the project implemented by Vratsa Municipality with the support of the Operational Programme "Environment" (2014-2020). The total cost of the project is EUR 16 mln, of which EUR 13 mln is the grant from the programme. The project also provides for the introduction of an innovative system for the safe movement of vehicles, electronic information and charging systems for passengers, additional video surveillance, repair of the trolleybus overhead contact network, refurbishment of bus stops. With the implementation of the project with EU funding, Vratsa became the first municipality in Bulgaria with a completely new and environmentally friendly public transport.

Financial data

Total project cost 32 027 089.53 BGN BFP 26 000 000.00 BGN Own funding 6 027 089.53 BGN Total amounts actually disbursed 21 265 484.50 BGN EU co-financing percentage 85.00 % EU contribution: 13 927 571 EUR


Systematic and based-on-data monitoring of implementation and post-implementation phases aiming to ensure that the CBA targets are achieved in a timely and effective manner.

Information sources

Other info

European Climate Initiative (EUKI)
This project is part of the European Climate Initiative (EUKI). EUKI is a project financing instrument by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK). The EUKI competition for project ideas is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. It is the overarching goal of the EUKI to foster climate cooperation within the European Union (EU) in order to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.