The EU bank will provide almost EUR 74m to Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona to put 254 new buses into service
The new vehicles – most of which are hybrids and electric – will make it possible to improve the city's air quality and the service provided to passengers
The project will enable the creation of 1 000 jobs during the construction phase of the new vehicles
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is financing the modernisation of Barcelona's fleet of city buses by granting a EUR 73.5m loan helping Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) put 254 new, safer, less polluting and more modern vehicles into service. The agreement was signed in Barcelona by EIB head of public sector operations in Spain Joan Basora and TMB Chief Executive Officer Enric Cañas.
The EIB financing will contribute to the replacement of diesel and first generation compressed natural gas vehicles with new, cleaner alternatives. In concrete terms, the city will have 116 new electric buses, 63 hybrids and 75 using latest generation compressed natural gas. The renewal will also cover Barcelona's 20 diesel-powered double-decker tourist buses, which will be replaced with hybrids.
The new vehicles will be introduced in late-2019 (first 105), in 2020 (another 75) and in 2021 (74). This will enable TMB to accelerate the transition to a zero-emission bus network and to improve service quality and reliability. In addition to improving air quality, the goal is to increase demand for this service to cut private transport use. Barcelona's public city buses have seen a 17% increase in use over the last six years – transporting 203 million people in 2018 – a figure that is still growing.
The EIB-financed investments will also make it possible to improve the on-board information system and build new electric charging stations. In addition to its social and environmental benefits, the project will help create 1 084 jobs during the construction phase of the new vehicles according to EIB estimates.
Regarding the agreement, EIB Vice-President Emma Navarro, responsible for the Bank's activities in Spain as well as for climate and the environment, said: “This project demonstrates the direct impact of EIB financing on improving people's quality of life, strengthening public transport service and enabling low-emission mobility in the city of Barcelona. Local residents will be able to enjoy cleaner air thanks to the introduction of these cutting-edge city buses. The agreement will also help create new economic opportunities in the city by improving connections and revitalising certain areas. It is a good example of the EIB's financing priorities in Spain.”
TMB Chief Executive Officer Enric Cañas welcomed “the decisive support of the EIB for the current environmental renewal of Barcelona's bus fleet, which is very much focused on electrification. The 116 fully electric buses to be introduced by 2021 will enable us to convert entire lines on our main network – such as the H16 horizontal line and the V11, V13 and V15 vertical lines, as well as some local lines – to zero emissions. Electric transport involves higher initial investment costs in terms of both vehicles and infrastructure, meaning that appropriate financing from public transport authorities and financial institutions is vital.”
This agreement is the fourth implemented by the EIB in Spain under its Cleaner Transport Facility programme for financing cleaner transport systems in Europe. Under this initiative, the EIB has provided financing to renew the city bus fleets of Las Palmas, Palma de Mallorca and Valencia.
The EIB and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have signed a new partnership agreement to scale up their support to countries facing situations of emergency caused by epidemics, natural disasters, conflict and other types of fragility. This agreement will enable both institutions to reinforce the resilience of partner countries and contribute to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The immediate focus will be to address setbacks, mainly caused by the COVID-19 crisis, in Eastern and Southern neighborhood, Central Asia and Africa.
The EIB is joining forces with Santander to provide financing on favourable terms to the Spanish small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-caps affected by the economic impact of COVID-19. To this end, the EIB and the European Investment Fund (EIF) will subscribe several tranches of a synthetic securitisation of a SME loan portfolio originated by Banco Santander, enabling the Spanish bank to provide more than €900 million of financing to inject liquidity and support SME investments.
The EIB today approved € 5.1 billion of new financing to support investment by companies most impacted by COVID-19, alongside backing clean energy, water, sustainable transport and urban development. This includes up to € 1 billion COVID-19 support backed by the new European Guarantee Fund that has now started its operational activity.