Eight electric buses financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the multi-donor Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership (E5P) Fund, of which the European Union is the largest contributor, have arrived in Batumi, Georgia’s second-largest city.
The new electric buses will improve the service for the city’s residents and visitors by increasing the reliability, safety and efficiency of public transport while benefiting the environment by reducing emissions.
“The EU is proud to support the introduction of electric buses to the transport fleet of Batumi,” said the EU Ambassador to Georgia, Carl Hartzell. “Thanks to a grant provided by the EU via the E5P Fund, passengers in Batumi are the first in the South Caucasus to experience quiet, non-polluting electric buses. Our long-standing assistance for the modernisation of urban transport is at the heart of the EU’s promotion of sustainable green development.”
He noted how transportation reform plays a key role in reducing air pollution and emissions of harmful greenhouse gasses. Delivery of the buses is linked to a commitment by the Batumi municipality to optimise the city’s public transport and parking system to let the new buses achieve their full efficiency and environmental benefits.
“This is an important milestone, the first-ever electric bus project supported by the EBRD in all of its countries of operations,” added Catarina Bjorlin Hansen, EBRD Regional Director for the Caucasus. “It is a truly inspirational project, which we look forward to replicating elsewhere. This project will help to reduce air pollution while giving the local population and visitors cleaner and safer rides. We hope to do more to improve the environment and the lives of the citizens of Georgia.”
The buses are purchased as part of a combined 5.5 million euros sovereign loan from the EBRD to Georgia to be on-lent to the city of Batumi for the benefit of the Batumi Autotransport, a municipal bus company and an E5P grant of over 1.5 million euros to upgrade the existing bus fleet to ensure improved environmental and operational performance.
The project is part of the EBRD’s Green Cities, which is a programme supporting municipal green investments, available across all of the economies where the EBRD invests.