The process for the extreme makeover of the urban bus fleets in Athens and Thessaloniki is now in full swing. A recent step was the selection of Planet S.A. as the Technical Consultant by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport for the second tender to procure 750 new urban buses for Athens and Thessaloniki.

The Greek consulting-engineering company was selected through the framework contract held by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport where it operates alongside Hill International (the lead entity) and SALFO.

The new tender complements the comprehensive fleet renewal effort in the two major cities of the country. A total of 1,300 new buses, along with an additional 300 through leasing, will replace the current vehicles. Among these, 875 will be electric, 300 will run on natural gas, 175 will be trolleybuses, 200 will be diesel-powered, and notably, there are plans for 50 hydrogen-powered buses. This initiative reflects a significant shift towards cleaner and more sustainable transportation options.

Planet is acting as a consultant in the current tender, assisting the Ministry in executing the individual contracts for 550 buses, of which 250 will be electric and 300 will run on natural gas. In collaboration with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport , Planet will undertake the design of the second tender, which includes 750 buses with a different mix of propulsion technologies.

According to information from, this second tender will include 525 electric buses and 175 trolleybuses. The electric buses will be divided into 350 slow-charging and 175 fast-charging vehicles. This demonstrates a substantial commitment to electrification and sustainable mobility within the urban bus fleets of Athens and Thessaloniki.

Hydrogen buses are coming

The most intriguing aspect of the new tender is that, barring unforeseen circumstances, another tender is expected, likely in the fall, which will include 50 hydrogen buses. Hydrogen technology is even newer compared to electric buses, and this move will position Athens among the first cities in Europe to procure such vehicles. In recent times, OASA (Athens Urban Transport Organization) had conducted trial runs with a pilot hydrogen bus, indicating a progressive approach towards adopting this innovative technology.

The budget for the tender is estimated at approximately €400-450 million. The new tender is expected to receive funding from the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) for the period of 2021-2027, and the launch is anticipated to take place during the summer. Consultations with the European Commission have already been completed, and discussions with stakeholders are underway. The goal is to complete the procurement of the 750 buses by 2027, as announced by the leadership of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport. This initiative is a significant step towards modernizing and greening the urban bus fleets in Athens and Thessaloniki.

Planet’s responsibilities will include refining the studies to ensure compatibility with the bus depots, modifying them to accommodate the increased power needs for charging more electric buses. Additionally, they will contribute to drafting the tender documents, supporting the tender process, and assisting until the procurement contracts are signed. This comprehensive role underscores Planet’s involvement in key aspects of the procurement and implementation process for the new urban bus fleet.

With the completion of the procurement of new buses and the inclusion of buses through leasing, Athens and Thessaloniki are expected to fully renew their fleets, which are currently among the oldest in Europe. This comprehensive fleet renewal will significantly enhance the quality and efficiency of urban transportation in both cities, marking a major step forward in modernizing public transit infrastructure.

Countdown for electric buses & new leasing.

Now, regarding the electric buses, we are in the final stretch to see them on the streets of Athens and Thessaloniki. The trial runs are coming to an end, and the ministerial decisions (KYA) have been issued for the transfer of the buses to the two organizations (OASA in Athens and OASTH in Thessaloniki). This indicates that the implementation of electric buses in these cities is progressing towards full deployment after successful testing and administrative approvals.

The goal is to have the new buses from OASA (Athens Urban Transport Organization) and OASTH (Thessaloniki Urban Transport Organization) in operation by May. The commencement of these routes will signify the presence of new buses on the streets of Athens for the first time in 16 years since the last procurement of new vehicles, marking the beginning of a new era for urban road transport in Athens and Thessaloniki. This initiative culminates in 2027 with the “extreme makeover” and complete replacement of the fleets, signaling a transformative period in urban transportation in both cities.

The Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASA) has announced a tender for the leasing of 300 new buses for a period of 10 + 1 years. The budget for the tender is 250 million euros including VAT (201.6 million euros excluding VAT). According to the tender, OASA is interested in acquiring 100 articulated diesel buses (EURO VI category), 100 standard diesel buses (EURO VI category), and 100 simple electric Midi 8.6 buses with a minimum autonomy of 180 km.

The delivery of the new buses must be completed within six months from the signing of the relevant contract. Within three months, 30% of the buses should be delivered, another 20% by the fourth month, and an additional 25% by the fifth month. The deadline for submitting bids is June 10th.

Simultaneously, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport has allocated a fund of 30 million euros for the leasing of diesel buses (likely second-hand) for Thessaloniki. The tender will cover a period of 3+1 years (2025-2027 and possibly 2028), with the intention that this leasing arrangement will serve as a bridge to meet transportation needs until the procurement of new buses is completed through the ministry’s second tender.

During this period, these buses will be put into circulation. Once the second tender is completed, expected in 2027 (assuming no delays), the main scenario, according to information from, is for Thessaloniki’s fleet to consist solely of electric buses and join the ranks of cities with zero-emission urban transportation.

For more details and the complete article in Greek, click here


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