‘The ‘Bus Rapid Transit’ project, worth 110 million Euros, was supposed to start last year in Tirana. In February 2023, Mayor Veliaj announced the good news that the Kinostudio-Kombinat, Unaza, and Tirana e Re lines would be serviced by electric buses, allowing for dedicated lanes to enhance speed and decrease CO2 emissions. The project hasn’t started so far, and in the best-case scenario, will be completed by 2029. The three urban lines cover the majority of the total 200,000 passengers using public transport in Tirana, and citizens complain about delays and unacceptable conditions on the buses.

Ilda Hoxha

In February 2023, Mayor Erion Veliaj announced that the Rapid Urban Bus project would be launched in the summer of the same year.

‘We are ready to launch the ‘Bus Rapid Transit’ this summer, a rapid bus transit system with dedicated and uninterrupted lanes. We will implement this system on three lines: Kinostudio-Kombinat, Unaza, and Tirana e Re. The expectation is that if the complete journey of the line took us 54 minutes, let’s say, we aim to bring it down to 24 minutes,’ – Veliaj stated.

Since the project wasn’t launched in the summer, Faktoje decided to verify when the promised launch would take place. In the official response dated January 31, 2024, Municipality of Tirana emphasizes that the project is being monitored by the German bank, KfW.

In response to the aforementioned request, where you asked for information about the project for uninterrupted dedicated lanes for 3 urban transport lines, we would like to inform you that this project is being monitored by the German bank, KfW. The details of the project will be made public very soon,’ – stated Tirana Municipality.

Faktoje requested information from KfW, which clarified project details and completion deadlines.

According to KfW, the total cost of the project is 110.37 million Euro, with 50 million Euros to be financed by the German Financial Cooperation through KfW.

European Union will finance up to 31.2 million Euros through WBIF and Tirana Municipality is expected to contribute up to 29.17 million Euros. The project is expected to last until 2029, with Tirana Municipality acting as the implementing agency.

‘The project entails the implementation of a Bus-Rapid Transit system in Tirana, utilizing battery-electric buses, along three bus corridors (Unaza, Tirana e Re, Kombinat-Kinostudio). The aim of the project is to enhance public transportation services and reduce CO2 emissions and local pollutants. This is aimed at contributing to climate and environmental protection, as well as enhancing energy efficiency,’ clarifies KfW.

The project consists of several components, one of which is the introduction of electric buses and the improvement of infrastructure for their fast charging.

According to KfW, the project aims to address a significant portion of the growing urban demand for sustainable, green, safe, comfortable, and accessible public transportation through electric buses.

In particular, the project contributes to improving the provision of services in public bus transportation. It contributes to avoiding local air pollutants in Tirana and reducing CO2 emissions affecting Albania’s climate, thus safeguarding the global climate.

The implementation of an e-Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system in Tirana will increase the average speed of buses across the three designated transport corridors from 11 km/h to 19 km/h,’ KfW argues in its formal response.

Head of the Urban Transport Association: Dedicated lanes guide citizens towards public transportation

The Head of the Urban Transport Association, Dashnor Memaj, emphasizes the importance of constructing dedicated lanes.

“After numerous requests from us, there is a promise that we will have rapid bus lines for public transportation. We’ve had several meetings, and I believe that within the year, at least the construction of dedicated lanes for these three lines will begin,’ he argues.

Memaj argues that the construction of dedicated lanes will shorten travel time and alleviate bus congestion.

‘It will shorten travel time up to 20 minutes for a given destination. A destination experiencing heavy traffic, with a larger volume of passengers, as buses stuck in traffic lead to overcrowding at subsequent stations. But, when the bus moves faster, the vehicle fleet operates at full capacity, there are fewer people, greater speed, we get to work faster, save time, and avoid bus congestion,’ he explains.

What is the current status of the public transportation lines?

Daily commuters using public transport express concerns regarding both delays and overcrowding.

‘I mostly use the Tirana e Re line and sometimes Kombinati one as well, mainly because it’s connected to the route, I need to take from home to school and back. Because of the frequent delays, many people gather to wait, and the urban area gets crowded, and in many cases, the schedules aren’t clear,’ – explains a student.

Some citizens no longer use public transportation due to these issues.

‘I used to take Tirana e Re line, but for the last 3 years, I haven’t used any public transportation because of the delays, traffic, and billers’ behavior,’ they explained. It would take me an hour to get to school or work,” they said. The biggest delays always occur during the morning rush hour,’ says a 30-year-old.

According to citizens, the problems escalate even more during the summer because the air conditioners are not turned on.

‘I use Kombinati line, and there are numerous delays, especially during the 4-5 pm hours, when everyone is getting off work,’ -they stated. During summer, the main issue is that they don’t turn on the air conditioners,’ another citizen expresses.

In some articles, Faktoje has reported on the problems of urban public transportation and the fact that despite many promises, it continues to be a ‘neglected luxury’ for the citizens of Tirana.


The conducted verification reveals that Mayor Veliaj’s promise about launching the rapid transit bus project with super-dedicated and uninterrupted lanes for Kinostudio-Kombinat, Unaza, and Tiranë e Re in the summer of 2023 has not been fulfilled. The prolonged delay in starting the project, which may not conclude until 2029 at best, results in costs for both citizens and the environment.


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