The fast seasonal bus line 209 has 10 stops and goes from the airport (with a stop at city centre close to the railway station) directly to the resort area.
Direct and fast connections are essential to make public transport attractive and competitive. During the high season (May-September) there are a lot of tourists coming to Varna seaside resorts (Evksinograd, St. Konstantin and Helena, Sunny Day and Golden sands). Visitors usually come by plane, by train or by bus and have to travel the last mile to the Golden sands resort by Varna public transport.
The regular bus line from the city centre to the resort area is used by local people and is mostly overcrowded. The main problem is that it has around 50 stops on the itinerary bringing citizens to their homes. This makes the journey very long and uncomfortable for tourists travelling with their luggage.
The fast seasonal bus line 209, which was introduced in 2016, has 10 stops and goes from the Varna airport (with one stop at the city centre close to the railway station) directly to the resort area. There are stops inside the resorts where the hotels and the main attractions are situated. It runs every 30 min. from 5:30 until 22:40 and is very appreciated by the tourists. The ticket fare varies with the distance (from €0.5 for the city area up to €1.5 to the Golden sands).
The stakeholders are the Varna municipality and the transport providing company. The main beneficiaries are the tourists and local people during the summer season, who go to their summer villas along the seaside or go to the beach. Direct and fast connections are essential to make public transport attract
The initial investment for this line was 0.8 Mio EUR. The maintenance costs 100 000 EUR/season.
Evidence of success
The bus line is used during the summer season (June-September) and the buses are always full. The average yearly number of users in the tourist season is 600 000. Visitors expressed their satisfaction to the tour-operators and in the hotels.
The only difficulties are related to the ticketing. Only single tickets are sold inside the buses, which is inconvenient for tourists. There are no any travel cards, family or group tickets. This omission will be overcome after the introduction of the automated ticketing system in Varna in 2019.
Potential for learning or transfer
The transfer potential of the GP is very high because it proved to be useful to double the ordinary slow connections with fast ones serving tourists during the high season. . All project partners declared they will transfer the seasonal bus service to their resort areas.