Bulgaria: From February 1, all children under 14 will travel free on urban public transport

From February 1 2024, children under the age of 14 will travel free of charge on public transport, in line with a Bulgarian government decision in December last year.

Children aged seven to 14 will get a 50 per cent discount on inter-city road transport, Transport Minister Georgi Gvozdeykov told a briefing in December.

He said that until now, this has applied to children aged seven to 10.

The changes provide for a 50 per cent reduction from the regular fare for seniors and students on public transit and intercity bus routes. So far, discounts have been between 20 and 30 per cent depending on the category and type of travel.

Sofia Urban Mobility Centre will from February 1 2024 issue an e-pass free of charge to all children aged seven to 14, it said in a statement.

“Parents can get it quickly and conveniently at any of our points of sale,” the centre said.

The free pass will have a photo and to claim the right to receive it, you need to show documentary proof of the age of the child and the address registration of the parent (permanent or current address on the territory of the Sofia Municipality), as well as a photo, which may be on a mobile phone.

Children between the ages of seven and 10 who are still travelling with free of charge passes can get an extended use of one month.

For example, if the pass expires on the 10th of this month, you can extend it for another month. After this period, it must be replaced with the new type of transport document. Replacement is for free.

Families who have already loaded prepaid passes for their children up to the age of 14 will be compensated with a refund for the unused period loaded on the transport document.

The amount will be calculated from the certified date of receipt of the return request until the expiry of the validity period, provided that the child is issued with a new free transport document.

According to Ministry of Transport, citizens of Ukraine aged seven to 14 who have received temporary protection in the Republic of Bulgaria are entitled to free travel in domestic urban transport from February 1 2024, the embassy of Ukraine said in a post on Facebook.

A Cabinet decision in December 2023 provides the opportunity to issue cards for free travel in domestic city transport to children under 14 years of age, including children who are not citizens of the Republic of Bulgaria and do not have a birth certificate or a single civil number (EGN), for example children of Ukrainian citizens who have received temporary protection in Bulgaria.

To issue cards for free travel in domestic urban transport, parents/guardians need to contact points of sale of travel documents in cities of temporary residence on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria.

Cards for free travel in internal city transport are issued on condition of presentation of a document that certifies the age of the child – for example, a registration card of one of the parents with temporary protection in which his children are under 14 years old; a student card from the educational institution where the child is studying, etc. Children from the age of seven to the age of 14 also need to provide a photo card.

Schoolchildren over 14 years of age, students and PhD students, who are about to load their Sofia public transport passes from February 1 2024, will be charged at the old prices, Sofia city council has decided.

From February 1 2024, schoolchildren who have turned 14 and students can get an annual pass at the old price of 200 leva at the Sofia Urban Mobility Centre’s cash desks. The monthly fee for all lines is 20 leva, and the price for one line (ground transport or metro) is nine leva.

The pass for PhD students is 35 leva for the entire network per month and 16 leva for one line per month. Loading of the transportation documents can also be done through Sofia Urban Mobility Centre web portal.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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