The E5P grant has co-financed the purchase of 143 new modern low-floor buses fuelled by compressed natural gas (CNG) which are now in public use in the centre of Tbilisi.
The switch from diesel to CNG fuel has resulted in significant reductions of air pollution, especially NOx and PM. The new buses have encouraged a modal shift from private cars and inefficient polluting minibuses to clean, reliable public transport.
The project has in fact triggered a structured transformation of the transport network and mobility within the accompanying EBRD Green City Action Plan for the capital. The annual ridership is approximately 40 million on routes operated by the new fleet. Tbilisi has become a demonstration case for other cities to follow such as Batumi, Bakuriani, Kutaisi, Gori, Telavi, Zugdidi, Rustavi and Poti. Improved mobility helps reducing poverty and bridge social gaps as access to affordable public transport is crucial for low income families.
Also as part of this project, the Tbilisi Bus company has strengthened its institutional development. It has created better access to employment and related training opportunities for female workforce. The number of female drivers has increased from one to 22.
In 2017 the Tbilisi Bus project won the EBRD Sustainability Award for the best Environment and Social Innovation project.