Creating more bus lanes is the same step to a better public bus and trolley transport as the tram separators are for the tram transport. Currently there are only 11 km bus lanes in Sofia compared to 60km in Budapest and 55 km in Vienna. The main argument of the local authorities not to expand the Bus lanes network until recently was that the legislation was too strict and did not allow such lanes on every boulevard but only on 3 specific urban arteries – Slivnitsa Blvd, Danail Nikolaev Blvd and Tzarigradsko Shose Blvd. Our local legislation requirements for separating one of the traffic lanes for buses and trolleys only were the same as the requirements for a bus lane in a 10 million Seoul:
- 60+ public transport cars per hour,
- a minimum of 3 traffic lanes on the road,
- 3,50m wide lane
So we got in touch with the Ministry of Regional Development and assisted in updating Regulation 2 from 2004 minimizing the requirements for a bus lane to 15+ cars per hour, min 2 road lanes and a 3m width for the Bus lane. The change was adopted in July 2015 and untied the hands not only of the capital city but also of all major cities in Bulgaria which were now eligible to create autonomous bus lanes. Currently, Sofia Municipality has plans for 10 new bus lanes in the city but only 1 has been made since July 2015 which was however significantly downsized afterwards. The public transport in the city remains a low priority for the local authorities for now and we still dub our city “A kingdom of cars”.