The Municipality of Burgas (Bulgaria)
Burgas municipality, situated on the coast of the Burgas gulf in the Black Sea, is one of the most economically and socially developed municipalities in Bulgaria. Burgas is an important industrial, commercial, transport and tourist centre It is a modern city, with many new buildings constructed in recent years, but the green areas remain almost intact and the municipality uses the slogan: „Burgas – a city of green opportunities!“ One of the biggest airports and the biggest cargo harbour in the country are located in the Burgas municipality. The municipality is also an important centre for coastal tourism with plenty of facilities and transport connections to the resorts on the South Black Sea coast. In addition, it is rated second among Bulgarian administrative districts in its industrial potential. Some of the industries of the region are unique and essential for the country‘s economy like chemical and oil production, air ventilating and purifying equipment, goods wagon production, fish industry, etc.
Actual state of accessibility-work
The municipal administration does not have a separate departmentto develop and implement measures and strategies for accessibility improvement. There is no appointed staff in the municipality that specifically deal with accessibility, instead responsibilities for accessibility work are split among experts from different departments. In recent years, Burgas Municipality follows a targeted policy to ensure accessible public space for people with reduced mobility, and to achieve energy savings in the transport sector. At present Burgas Municipality is implementing a large-scale infrastructure project for integrated urban transport.
Burgas municipality, in terms of accessibility, has the necessary knowledge (knowledge of legal requirements and options for action with regard to accessibility in the planning area and the granting of building permits, etc.), but it has limited financial resources to realise more effective measures to implement accessibilityimprovements. Intentions and ambitions of the municipal government on accessibility for PRM are integrated into transport policies of local authorities, but people with reduced mobility are not actively involved in planning, monitoring and evaluation of accessibility in the municipality. Burgas aims to actively participate in implementing the policy of social equality between people and achieve all the priorities facing Bulgaria. The municipality applies all necessary measures to cover the European regulations and building an accessible environment for people with reduced mobility. The main actions currently achieved are: Burgas airport meets all the requirements under Regulation (EC) 1107/2006 and has special vehicles for transporting PRM, wheelchair rental option for transportation of passengers and special seating in aeroplanesA "Ring and ride" service for PRM has been introduced in Burgas.
The priority for the Municipality of Burgas is to create affordable public and private transport services through a variety of vehicles. So far this is provided for air, rail and partly in other public transport. The city does not have a tram or metro, so the main priorities are to improve the urban and interurban bus and trolley transportation and access to specialised taxis.
The Municipality of Burgas implemented the ISEMOA method in order to find out where the weak points in their accessibility work are, and to gain inspiration for improvement of their accessibility work. Since currently the Municipality of Burgas is developing a Sustainable Urban Transportation Plan for long-term political visions for urban mobility, they appreciate that ISEMOA could help them to develop the mobility-related part of this urban-plan. During the ISEMOA-process the local ISEMOA-team in Burgas developed a range of measures that should be implemented to improve the municipality’s accessibility work.
Among those measures are for example: Establishment of multimedia portal for information about mobility in the city such as; public transport schedules and routes, bike lines, bus lanes, bypass routes, bike parking and bike rental, parking areas, school zones, etc.; Ensuring accessibility to the beach for PRM; Training of personnel in public transport (drivers and conductors) for quality service to PRM; etc….
The elaborated Action Plan for accessibility in the framework of the ISEMOA project will contribute to developing the Sustainable Urban Transportation Plan for the Municipality of Burgas.
Quotes of local stakeholders
“Participation in the ISEMOA project will help the Municipality of Burgas to implement European standards and norms for assessing the accessibility of the public space and public transport in the municipality, using the developed ISEMOA QM-schemes” (Deputy Mayor of Burgas)