The opening of Sofia’s new metro underground railway line was celebrated by offering free rides to all users from the afternoon to the end of the day on August 31 2012.
The official opening ceremony was held at the Serdica 2 station, attended by President Rossen Plevneliev, Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, European Commission President Jose Barroso, Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandukova and Metropolitan Sofia executive director Stoyan Bratoev.
The new line links the centre of the city to the Lozenets residential neighbourhood. It includes a link to the central main-line railway station. The line, which has 11 stations, brings the total of Sofia’s metro rail network to 27 stations and 31 kilometres.
The line can carry 130 000 passengers a day on 18 new energy-saving trains.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Barroso said that the completion of the Sofia metro line “is about much more than just getting from point A to point B”.
“It demonstrates that Sofia is a vibrant and modern city, willing to invest in its future competitiveness, in its environment, and in its citizens,” Barroso said.
The new metro line will help to modernise Sofia’s transportation system, in line with its recent economic and demographic growth, while allowing the city to further fulfil its potential. At the same time, it will reduce pollution and improve the quality of life of thousands of commuters and citizens, he said.
“By connecting important historic sites, the new metro line also serves to promote Bulgaria’s rich historic and cultural heritage. It serves as a good example of integrated and sustainable public transport, connecting all modes of transport in the city. The planned link to Sofia’s International Airport, will allow for a faster connection to the rest of Europe and the world,” Barroso said.
Earlier, Fandukova said that the five km link from the existing Tsarigradsko Chaussee station to Sofia Airport was to go ahead, with construction likely to start before the end of 2012.
Barroso said: “Moreover, the metro line is also a fine demonstration of what can be achieved, and what we should aspire to, through the European Union structural and cohesion funds”.
Through these funds, the European Union has invested 50 per cent [476 million euro] of the total cost of this project, he said.
“Working side-by-side with the Bulgarian authorities, we have together completed this project that serves to stimulate the economy, make traffic safer and faster, and allow for a more pleasant urban life. This is what we mean when we talk about green, smart and sustainable growth,” Barroso said.
(Photo: V Nikolov/president.bg)
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