Expert article
Edit 17 January 2023
by Gereon Meyer

Electric minibuses offering on-demand and zero-emission public transport options to citizens in Sofia

Electric minibus tested for on-call service in Sofia (Photo by Gereon Meyer)
Electric minibus tested for on-call service in Sofia (Photo by Gereon Meyer)
The INNOAIR Podcast episode #4 is covering the on-demand green public transport service that he Bulgarian capital of Sofia has started to test with a fleet of electric minibuses operated in a ridesharing scheme supported by artificial intelligence. The new on-demand service will help residents of two neighborhoods to reach metro and tram line stations more easily and with zero-emissions.
  • The idea behind the on-demand bus service is to attract people to public and zero emission transport by offering innovative and convenient solutions that can compete with the individual car.
  • The electric minibuses to be deployed in Sofia accommodate up to 20 people, are air-conditioned and wheelchair accessible. Due to their short length they can easily navigate on narrow streets of residential neigbourhoods.
  • Machine learning and in-depth data analysis make the service work by creating the most efficient sequence of stops for each trip, collecting the maximum number of passengers upon call.
  • Reservations will be made via a smartphone app called BUSINN that is available in the App Store (https://apps.apple.com/bg/app/businn/id6443580012) and in Google Play (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.liftango.sofiainnoair)
  • Currently, a series of intensive performance and quality checks is carried out to train drivers and dispatch officers.
  • Users and communities are invited to co-design the system according to their needs.
  • Sofia’s approach to improving the air quality is unique by combining technical solutions for green and on-demand public transport by other measures such as green corridors, congestion charge, and low emission zones.
  • This INNOAIR Podcast episode features statements by Kristian Krastev, Deputy Mayor of Sofia, Ivan Nikolov, Transport Director of the Sofia Municipality, Miroslav Katsarov, CEO of Modeshift, and Sevdalina Voynova of the Sofia Development Association.

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