The first 20 electric buses and 82 natural gas buses that are expected to arrive in Sofia by the end of the year have already been produced. In 2019, another 60 new articulated natural gas buses will be purchased. Thus, in 2019, 90% of city transport buses will be renewed and the average age of the fleet will be 6-7 years. By contrast, in 2012, when Sofia Municipality launched its public transport modernization program, the average age of the buses was over 20 years.
The delivery of the new metro trains for the third line of Sofia metro has been launched. The new trains are manufactured by Siemens and are equipped with all modern conveniences for the passengers, as well as with automatic control – automatic starting, automatic braking with an accuracy of up to 20 cm, automatic speed control and road profile. In addition, the stations of the third line will have partition walls for additional passenger safety.
A new system of 22 measuring devices will monitor the air pollution levels in Sofia. The devices will cover the entire territory of the capital and are planned to be operational in 2019. Currently, a public procurement procedure for the implementation of the project is underway with funds from “Effective Use of New AIRTHINGS Technologies for Clean Ambient Air” financed by the Balkan – Mediterranean Program (2014-2020) of the EU.
At present, air quality control is monitored by the national control system, managed by the Executive Environment Agency (EEA), as well as two other networks created by civic initiatives, such as airtube.info and airbg.info, which bring together data from many independent stations to measure fine particulate levels. The desire of Sofia Municipality to have its own system is driven by the fact that the sensors of the EEA do not fully cover the territory of the city and the private networks operate with data from different sensors and the results cannot be considered official.
In addition to the sensors, an Open Data System will also be developed and maintained under the project, to visualize and store all data on ambient air quality. They will be provided to external developers to create different types of applications and services.
Sofia is a leading partner in the AIRTHINGS project as of the end of 2017. Other partners are administrations, educational institutions and NGOs from the cities of Thessaloniki, Nicosia, Ohrid and Tirana. The project aims to build local networks of sensors for observation and measurement of ambient air quality in the Balkan region. The total number of measuring devices that will be located in different cities is 100 but their delivery, installation and putting into operation will not be centralized. This will be made separately by each municipality or participating institution.