Merged transport authority in full unfolding process
Bucharest is completing a plan to merge all the city’s public transport networks in a Metropolitan Transport Authority. General director of the Infrastructure and Public Services General Department in Bucharest City Hall, Gheorghe Udriste, explains the necessity of creating this body
Bucharest’s Metropolitan Transport Authority is meant to unify both overground and underground transport in the Capital city
under one sole controlling body, the Bucharest City Hall.
Now the Bucharest Metro is under the control of the Ministry of Transport, while Bucharest’s tram, trolleybus and bus network of RATB, is co-ordinated by the Bucharest City Hall.
By the end of 2007, a new transport Master Plan for the city of Bucharest will be completed and then it will be up to the local public government to make a decision on whether to implement its recommendations.
The Bucharest Metropolitan Transport Authority will then be in charge of both the development and modernisation of the transport infrastructure and also with the manner to operate the system. It is a project funded by the World Bank though the Ministry of Transport and a final decision on its establishment is needed, as both over and underground transport systems in Bucharest need a unitary and coherent development strategy, depending on the metropolitan needs and also on its surrounding areas.
When the World Bank approved the credit line for the development of the Metropolitan Transport Authority, it also commissioned an efficiency study on the existing Metro lines in Bucharest and results have shown the necessity for new stations to appear on the existing lines.
At present, Bucharest’s public transport service on surface (RATB) uses a separate ticketing system to the Bucharest Metro. This often makes transfer between the two networks expensive and complicated. Due to this, the two transport systems will be merged from 2008, when the Bucharest Metropolitan Transport Authority will be established and a single ticketing system will come into force, intended to lead at the tariff integration in the public transport system in Bucharest City.
This new ticketing system is now under implementation.
The Metro and the bus, tram and trolleybus networks need to have a clear and integrated strategy for development, as for the past seven years the city’s Metro company has not been definitely managed and has not had clear aims in view. Metrorex has its development strategy drawn up, but this has been undertaken without consultation with Bucharest City Hall. This appears as somehow peculiar, because the Metro system serves Bucharest’s inhabitants’ interest and any strategy should be run by the Bucharest City Hall, not just by a company which is under the jurisdiction of a Ministry that oversees transport development and regulation all over the country.
General Council of Bucharest City has approved the feasibility study and the technical and economic data as regards the creation of one much needed metro line to link the centre of the city with the Henri Coanda international airport in Otopeni. This will not be an investment by Bucharest’s underground operator Metrorex, although the transport company is likely to operate this line. This is a project valued at over one billion Euro, of which more than 80 per cent will be financed by the Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC). This is the last contract we can sign with the Japanese bank once Romania became an EU member. But this is still favourable, and Japanese Yen-denominated loans are the most desirable type of loans.
There is over a ten-year grace period that has to be repaid in 30 years and the interest stands only at 1.5 per cent.
This project has been on the project finance list of JBIC since 2006 and following a series of feasibility studies, it was decided that a new Metro line in Bucharest project has all the conditions for it to be considered a significantly important environmental project, therefore the bank approved its financing. Romania’s Prime Minister has fully approved this project and delegated all negotiating competencies to the Bucharest General Mayor, Adriean Videanu.