North Macedonia signs €70mn EBRD loan for Bus Rapid Transit system in Skopje

By bne IntelliNews April 21, 2021

North Macedonia has signed a €70mn loan deal with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for the implementation of the trackless track project in the capital Skopje, the lender announced on April 21. 

Skopje, one of the most polluted cities in Europe, will become the first city in the Western Balkans to introduce a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). The project includes the establishment of two BRT lines for fast bus transport to improve the quality of passenger transport services in Skopje in the directions east-centre-west and south-centre-north.

“The new urban transport system will see the creation of priority bus lanes to be serviced by a fleet of energy efficient or hybrid buses delivering fast, comfortable and cost-effective public transport,” the EBRD said in the statement.

Passengers will benefit from fast and frequent operations. Innovative components such as off-board fare collection, e-ticketing and dynamic service regulation will lift service quality to new levels.

The new system will also lead to significant reductions of the emissions in Skopje, a city of more than 550,000 residents. According to plans, the new BRT system envisages a reduction in emissions of carbon monoxide by over 95%, particulate matter by approximately 90% and both nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide by at least a quarter.

“The ultimate goal of the project is to provide new city transport in Skopje through an efficient and economic transport network. The introduction of environmentally friendly buses will lower air pollution and provide fast, safe and quality transport,” Transport Minister Blagoj Bocvarski said in the statement.

“Tackling air pollution in Skopje is a priority and we welcome the authorities’ commitment to decisive and swift action which the EBRD stands ready to fully support as demonstrated by today’s signing,” Andi Aranitasi, EBRD head of North Macedonia, stated. 

The authorities in North Macedonia announced that the tender for the implementation of the project will be announced in the summer and the project is expected to be ready in 2024-2025.

To date, the EBRD has invested €2.13bn in North Macedonia through 142 projects. The bank focuses on the expansion of the local private sector, the promotion of regional and international integration and the sustainable use of resources in the country.

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