In the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, a quiet public transport revolution is taking place. Twenty two Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses with low-noise engines will join an expanding fleet of natural gas buses that has been building over the past few years, replacing an aged fleet with modern buses. Manufactured by Zhengzhou Yutong, these new buses form part of an order for 110 vehicles.
“Another 22 new natural gas buses will serve four lines of public transport, from now on bus line 604 and from mid-May on lines 113, 75 and 384. By the end of June we will launch 60 articulated new natural gas buses”, said Yordanka Fandakova, Mayor of Sofia, at the launch of the new vehicles.
“For a few years we have made the most extensive modernization of public transport: 90% of the line buses are new, with the highest environmental standard EURO 6. Thus we have reduced 2.5 times the harmful emissions from public transport”, Fandakova added. The acquisition was part of the municipality’s air quality improvement program and aims to attract more bus users while gradually eliminating old diesel buses.
In January this year, 30 new Euro VI CNG buses commenced operations on lines 72 and 84: “We continue to modernize the metropolitan transport in the city of Sofia and implement our vision for developing Sofia as a green city and improving the quality of the atmospheric air”, the mayor said at the time.
By the end of 2019, 90% of buses in Sofia’s fleet will have been replaced, bringing the average age for the fleet to six years, a far cry from the 20+ years prior to the replacement program commencing in 2012.
In December 2018, thirty CNG buses replaced vehicles on line №111.
In the summer of 2017, 60 new single buses — BMC Procity CNG Euro VI – were launched under contract between the metropolitan municipality and MTK Group.
Sofia also operates MAN Euro VI Lion’s City G CNG buses, being the first 126 natural gas buses which were bought early in the program.