“We found a possibility to introduce at least 100 new ecologically clean buses to Tbilisi this year.”FactCheck
took interest in the possibility of purchasing 100 new ecologically clean buses from the Tbilisi budget as claimed by Tbilisi City Hall.In accordance with the 2018 Tbilisi Municipality budget ,
GEL 34,604,800 has been allocated this year for the development of transport (Article 01.02). It is not specified, however, how much of this money will be spent on the modernisation of urban transport.On 16 February 2018, amendments to Tbilisi’s 2018 budget were adopted at an extraordinary session of Tbilisi City Council. In accordance with these amendments, the Tbilisi city budget was increased by GEL 36 million and reached GEL 897 million. Of the GEL 36 million increase, GEL 31.2 million is allocated to purchase
new ecologically clean buses meeting European standards.FactCheck
took interest how many ecologically clean buses can be purchased with GEL 31 million.In 2016, Tbilisi City Hall launched a renewal of its municipal bus pool. In order to support the Tbilisi Bus Project, Tbilisi City Hall and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) signed a contract
on 11 May 2016. The project envisaged purchasing 150 new ecologically clean and natural gas powered buses. To this end, the EBRD issued a EUR 27 million loan to Tbilisi City Hall. In addition, the Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership (E5P) gave a EUR 7 million grant to Tbilisi City Hall further to this end.In July 2016, Tbilisi City Hall concluded an agreement with the Man Truck and Bus AG Company which won the international tender to supply the buses. In accordance with the contract, the aforementioned company was required to bring 143 adapted 12-meter long buses equipped with GNG fuel powered (natural gas which has a lower amount of harmful emissions as compared to diesel with decreased carbon emissions and colourless and odourless exhaust) engines. The introduction of the buses was launched in October 2016. By April 2017, 143 buses were already in Tbilisi and were gradually being distributed
to their respective lines.As we have already mentioned, EUR 34 million (the EUR 27 million EBRD loan as well as the EUR 7 million grant) was allocated as part of the project
to purchase the 143 buses. Therefore, approximately EUR 237,762 (nearly GEL 608,670 in accordance with the 2016 September exchange rate) was spent to purchase one bus.
However, as stated by Kakha Kaladze, Tbilisi City Hall plans to purchase 100 new ecologically clean buses for the price of GEL 31 million. Therefore, GEL 310,000 has been allocated to purchase one bus. If Tbilisi City Hall decides to purchase the same type of buses produced by MAN, it will only be able to purchase 50 buses for the aforementioned price (GEL 608,670).FactCheck
contacted an expert in transport issues, Vaso Urushadze, the Executive Director of the HUB Georgia platform. Mr Urushadze stated: “It is a welcoming fact that the process to modernise the old buses has been launched and that buses with internal combustion engines are going to be replaced by EURO6 standard buses. However, of note is that Tbilisi City Hall purchased MAN type buses at quite a high price. It was possible to purchase the same type and quality buses for a lower price.”
Mr Urushadze also added: “In regard to the prices of buses powered by ecologically clean natural gas as well as hybrid and electric buses, it is possible to purchase them for USD 100,000-120,000. Specifically, Chinese produced BID buses as well as Korean produced HYUNDAI buses have been approbated in many countries. Therefore, it is possible to purchase 100 ecologically clean buses for the amount of funds allocated in Tbilisi’s budget. However, it depends on the company, the type and the capacity of the transport that Tbilisi City Hall will choose.”FactCheck tried to find possible prices for buses. Prices for liquid gas powered and electric
buses fluctuate from USD 66,000 to USD 100,000-120,000. Therefore, it is possible to purchase one bus for the price range of GEL 151,800 to GEL 230,000-276,000.
Taking this into account, it would be possible to purchase 100 buses for GEL 31 million. However, of note is that in the case of Tbilisi City Hall deciding to reject unification (meaning it will purchase buses from a different company), the technical services for the buses might become costly.
On 16 February 2018, Tbilisi’s budget was amended and increased by GEL 36 million. Of that amount, GEL 31 million is allocated to purchase 100 new ecologically clean buses.Therefore, GEL 310,000 is planned for the purchase of one bus. In accordance with possible prices as obtained by FactCheck,
it is indeed possible to purchase one bus for this amount (the average price for one bus is GEL 151,800-276,000). However, we do not know the type of bus or the manufacturing company which Tbilisi City Hall plans to use. If Tbilisi City Hall decides to purchase MAN buses again (for the same price as before), then only 50 buses will be able to be purchased for this amount.At this stage, FactCheck leaves Kakha Kaladze’s statement WITHOUT VERDICT. After purchasing the new buses, we will provide updated information to our readers.