In July 2005, the EBRD lent EUR 3,1m to the “Municipal Auto Transport Company Ltd” which is wholly owned by Tbilisi Municipality. The main objectives of the project were to:
Finance the purchase of 150 municipal buses, spare parts and workshop equipment; and
Reform the regulatory framework for public transport in Tbilisi.
To fulfill the above-mentioned objectives, in conjunction with commercialisation of a municipal bus company, the EBRD project envisaged the development of a Public Service Contract (PSC), that clearly defines and allocates responsibilities for service delivery, finances, safety, tariff setting, passenger control, marketing, ticketing, fare evasion and handling customer complaints.
In addition to the project loan, it was assumed that an additional grant would be provided by the EBRD ETC fund10 to “Municipal Auto Transport Company Ltd.” to help make its operation comply with international standards. The grant aimed at the creation of a Tbilisi public transport regulation framework and development programme for the project sponsor”11 including business plan, environmental management plan and fee collection system development.
With regard to the environmental impact of the project, it was assumed that modernisation of the bus fleet would decrease traffic congestion, increase traffic safety, improve air quality and reduce emissions. In addition, the project document specified that fuel efficiency requirements would comply with the European Union’s environmental standards for urban buses.