By the year 2020, Sofia's metro should be the "backbone" of the city's transport system, with plans for it to have a total length of 63km and 65 stops, The Sofia Echo informed.
The information came in the form of a general plan for the years 2009/2013 for developing the metro network, prepared by Stoyan Bratoev, executive director of Metropolitan EAD, the firm in charge of realising the metro project. While the idea is for the three lines of the subway to be completed by 2020, if enough financing is secured to finish the first two lines, for which work is already under way, such could take place by 2015.
A metro network in Bulgaria's capital was first conceived and prepared for 1979, with construction of the first segment – 6.4km and five stations – carrying on until 1986. It was put into use 12 years later, on December 28 1998. Construction on that one line was restarted on January 28 1998 and continued until June 20 2003, when it reached its present length (10km and eight stops), going from Sveta Nedelya Square in the centre of the city to the borough of Obelya, while passing through Lyulin.
In 2009, it is expected that the line running from Sveta Nedelya Square to the Mladost borough (eight km and six stations) will be completed, city hall said.
Funding for the present segments of the metro comes from the Programme for Expanding the Metro 2009 – 2013, which includes money from Operative Programme Transport, the European Investment Bank and the Japanese Bank for International Co-operation, with local co-financing.