Bulgarian state railways BDZ’s new train service connecting Bulgaria’s Plovdiv and the Turkish city of Edirne has proved short-lived, at least in its current form.
Initially intended to have started on May 24, the first trains instead ran for the first time on the weekend of June 1 and 2.
On June 1, only 38 people bought tickets for the return trip from Plovdiv to Edirne, for which BDZ provided a two-carriage train. There were even fewer passengers on June 2, even though the ticket price, 28.50 leva return, is cheaper than the bus service between the two cities.
Edirne authorities had provided free transport from the railway station to the city centre. The Turkish city is a popular destination – by road – for day trips for cheaper shopping.
The service offered by BDZ took four hours to travel the about 180km from Plovdiv to Edirne, and anyone wanting to return the same day would have just a few hours in the Turkish city before having to return to the railway station.
Media reports also noted that as the new BDZ service started, so did a bus route offered by a Plovdiv businessman.
In statement on its website, BDZ that preparations were being made for the train now to run from Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia “in order to provide a more convenient way to travel to Turkey, covering a wider range of clients of the national railway carrier”.
There were no details about when a Sofia-Edirne rail service, which would pass through Plovdiv, would commence. Media reports suggested that it may be this summer.
BDZ invited passengers who had bought tickets for the June 8 and 9 Plovdiv-Edirne trip to apply for refunds at railway offices.