Transport in Sofia
Sofia is the first and the main international airport in Bulgaria. The number of passengers is over 4 million a year and it grows. Sofia Airport is connected to all the main hubs in Europe such as Frankfurt, London and Vienna. The direct flights to these airports are 3 to 9 daily. All the other main airports in Europe and the Middle East such as Istanbul, Moscow, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, Milan, Madrid, Barcelona, Athens, Lisbon, Tel Aviv, Kayro are connected to Sofia Airport with 1 to 3 direct flights a day. There are also a number of national daily flights to Varna and Burgas.
Sofia Airport has been operating since 1937. Terminal 1 was build before WWII and reconstructed in 1951,1965 and 2000. Now it is the low-cost airline terminal. Terminal 2 has been operating since December 2006. It is a modern complex for transportation, trade and financial services. It has a big parking with 800 places. Sofia Airport operates also a special government terminal and a VIP section, situated in separate buildings.
The airport is situated only 10 km from the city center. It is easy to reach the heart of Sofia by a taxi. The price is 10 to 12 leva (5 to 6 euro) and you must take a car only at the proper stand not paying attention to any unauthorized offer.
You can also use the public transport – bus 84. The price of the ticket is 1 lev (0,50 euro). It goes to Orlov Most and the Sofia University in less than 30 minutes.
In 2012 Sofia Airport will be connected to the city center by Metro 1 line that is now under construction in the airport zone.
The Sofia public transport network consists of 41 bus lines, 16 tram lines, 9 trolleybus lines and 1 metroline. The suburban arias are serviced by 51 suburban lines.
Bus network - 31.12.2009
- Number of lines - 92
- - urba - 41
- - suburban - 51
- Network length, two-ways (km) - 2 043.85
- - urban lines (km) - 979.85
- - suburban lines (km) - 1 402.9
- Average distance between stops (m) - 625
- Average operational speed (km/h) - 18.66
Tram network - 31.12.2009
- Number of lines - 16
- Network length, two-ways (km) - 289.68
- - dedicated tracks, two-ways (km) - 92.5
- Average distance between stops (m) - 450
- Average operational speed (km/h) - 12.0
Trolleybus network - 31.12.2009
- Number of lines - 9
- Network length, two-ways (km) - 197.53
- Average distance between stops (m) - 470
- Average operational speed (km/h) - 14.3
Metro network - 31.12.2009
- Number of lines - 1
- Network length (km) - 17.8
- Average distance between stations (km) - 1.37
- Average operational speed (km/h) - 38.84
Sofia public transport infrastructure consists of ground and underground rail tracks, catenary and rectifying stations, ticket offices and kiosks, stops and signs.
Infrastructure - 31.12.2009
- Public transport stops (number) - 2 500
- - electronic boards - 93
- - signs with tametables - 1 800
- Rail tracks – single track (km) - 259
- - with gauge 1009 mm (km) - 169
- - with gauge 1435 mm (km) - 34,5
- - combined, three rails (km) - 5,5
- - in depots (km) - 50
- Tram catenary (km) - 263
- Cable network 600 V (km) - 640
- Cable network 10/20 kV (km) - 100
- Trolleybus catenary (km) - 257
- Rectifying stations (number) - 24
- GPS surveillance system – it is developed and implemented with cooperation of Bulgarian company MUSAT. The system coordinates, controls and monitors the operation of all the public transport vehicles.
- Electronic information boards on public transport stops in Sofia – thanks to the GPS system we are able to define the position of each vehicle and calculate the real time of its arrival at the stop. Electronic information boards are installed in most of the stops in the centre of the city. They show the passengers the information about real movement of the vehicles – at what time the next vehicle will be at the stop.
- Automated ticketing system – a new electronic ticketing system is installed in trams and trolleybuses. The system is based on a contactless technology and it allows us to identify the number of passengers travelling in the vehicles of the city public transport, to track and analyse passengers flow.
- Refurbishment of 18 Bulgarian trams – in 2006 a contract is signed with the Czech company Inekon for modernization of 18 Bulgarian trams.
- Virtual electronic boards – this is a pilot project. This is a new service developed recently and it allows passengers to access the information from GPS system (time-table in real time) through the web page of Sofia Urban Mobility Centre.
Public transport operators
Public transport service on the territory of Sofia Municipality is provided by 3 municipal companies – Stolichen avtotransport EAD, Stolichen eletrotransport EAD and Metropolitan EAD and 3 private transport operators. Private transport operators have their own garages and service facilities according to the requirements of their contracts with Sofia Municipality.
Facilities of the municipal operators:
Stolichen eletrotransport EAD:Stolichen avtotransport EAD:
- Tram depot Banishora
- Tram depot Krasna polyana
- Tram depot Iskar
- Trolleybus depot Nadezhda
- Trolleybus depot Iskar
- Garage Malashevtsi
- Garage Zemlyane
- Garage DruzhbaMetropolitan EAD:
- Depot Obelya
- 14 metrostations
In 2009 transport operators had provided in total 792 vehicles in peak hour and the distribution is as follows:
- Tram transport - 160 vehicles;
- Trolleybus transport - 88 vehicles;
- Metro - 21 vehicles;
- Bus transport - 523 vehicles /incl.. municipal operator-377 vehicles. and private operators-146 vehicles/.
The transport service is awarded to transport operators by Sofia Municipality. In 2009 463 529 000 passengers have used the services of Sofia Public Transport System. For the same period transport operators had performed 62 957 977 km in total and distribution of transport service by transport operators is as follows:
Transport operators -Millage km. Electro transport - 17 236 830
-Tram transport 10 685 045
-Trolleybus transport 6 551 784Bus transport - 44 262 424
-Municipal operator - 32 171 711
-Private operators - 12 090 713Metro transport - 1 458 721
Total - 62 957 977
The distribution of passengers between different modes of transport is as follows (the data is from the last passenger counting in 2010):
- Bus transport -54%;
- Tram transport-22%;
- Trolleybus transport-13%;
SUMC EOOD – Sofia Urban Mobility Centre
As the public transport company in Sofia SUMC EOOD is responsible for:
- organization, management, supervision and finance of the Sofia public transport as an integrated process;
- issuing of transportation documents and collection of the transportation revenues;
- unified transport operations planning in Sofia, vehicle movement time-tables, routes optimization;
- operation of information-management system for monitoring and supervision of the traffic, based on GPS-identification;
- implementation and operation of unified automated fare collection system (ticketing system);
- advertising and information services in public transport;
- infrastructure maintenance, repairing and construction, including: railways, contact and cable nets, rectifier stations and outdoor equipment
- parking and mobility
One of SUMC’ structures is the TRAFFIC COORDINATION, CONTROL AND SAFETY DEPARTMENT. It receives permanent information for the overall condition and changes in the performance of the city public transport and through its chief dispatcher imposes coordinates and controls its performance. The department has decision-making power under provisional organizations of the traffic, which have been necessitated by emergency situations.
Relevant skills, experiences, technologies and previous projects
One of SUMC’s main goals is to continuously improve the quality of public transport service. With this respect during the last few years the company has implemented a range of projects:
- GPS surveillance system – it is developed and implemented with cooperation of Bulgarian company MUSAT. The system coordinates controls and monitors the operation of all the public transport vehicles.
- Electronic information boards in public transport stops in Sofia – thanks to the GPS system we are able to define the position of each vehicle. Electronic information boards are installed in most of the stops in the centre of the city. They show the passengers the information about real movement of the vehicles – what time the next vehicle will be at the stop.
- Virtual electronic boards – this is a pilot project. This is a new service developed recently by SUMC which allows passengers to access the information from GPS system (time-table in real time) through SUMC’s web page.
- Announcement of stops in the vehicles – this is in a process of developing. Thanks to the GPS system we will be able to announce the stops in the vehicles.
- Electronic ticketing system - SUMC has installed and implemented a new electronic ticketing system in the Sofia public transport.
- Parking – SMS parking