Transport Development Results in Budapest 2010-2014
Four difficult, but successful years are behind BKK Centre for Budapest Transport, the transport organizer of the Hungarian capital founded in 2010. In that year, BKK took over a public transport management system that was in poor condition with obsolete vehicles and infrastructure. The Budapest Transport Company (BKV), fully owned by the Municipality of Budapest, had no appropriate owner’s and professional control over it, there was no quality assurance and accountability was lacking. London, one of the most populous capital cities in Europe with an extensive and well-organised transport network, provided the best example for the task of reforming the transport governance system, which was completed in 2012 by BKK becoming a full-blown PTA.
BKK has started and completed numerous successful development projects. The result of efforts are best illustrated by the fact that despite a 10% price-cut on passes there has been a 20% annual fare-box revenue increase amounting to HUF 7.7 billion (EUR 24.4 million) since the current city management took office and BKK was founded. Tickets and passes are now printed on thermo-paper, 300 new ticket vending machines (TVMs) have been added to the sales network and front-door boarding only policy has been introduced on numerous transport lines. Public space supervisors are now involved in assisting BKK’s ticket inspectors resulting in a 45% increase in the number of passengers to pay penalty fares while the amount of collected penalty fares rose by 253%. Besides increased revenues from ticket and pass sales, the transport network went through significant development.
In the spring of 2014, the long-awaited metro line M4 was finally inaugurated after years of delay and construction. M4 covers a distance of 7.4 kilometres in just 13 minutes between Keleti pályaudvar and Kelenföld vasútállomás railway stations serving ten uniquely designed stations, some of which have won architectural awards.
In addition to underground fixed-rail developments, the above ground tram and trolleybus network will also be renovated with modern, low-floor vehicles to be delivered. As a first in Budapest, aesthetically pleasing grass-covered tram tracks equipped with automatic sprinklers were laid down allowing trams to glide swiftly and quietly. Thanks to the developments, tram line 1 will cross the Danube from the Pest side of the city to South Buda via Rákóczi bridge in 2015. The total cost of the track refurbishment of tram lines 1 and 3 is 44.4 billion Hungarian Forints (141 million Euro) with 93% co-funding by the European Union.
The average age of the Budapest bus fleet was 18 years with some vehicles having been in service for over 30 years. BKK replaced nearly 40 per cent of the buses and by the end of 2014 a total of 350 new and some 200 second-hand, low-floor buses will be operating in Budapest and its metropolitan area including 37 used CNG-propelled Van Hool buses as a novelty in the Hungarian capital. The new buses feature sky-blue livery and are not only comfortable but also environment-friendly.
The vehicle fleet will expand further in the course of 2015 with 200 brand new, air-conditioned, low-floor MAN Lion’s City A21 and Mercedes-Benz Conecto G buses arriving to Budapest, all propelled by the most advanced environmentally friendly engines of our age. Furthermore, 28 new articulated diesel-electric hybrid Volvo 7900H buses will be introduced from the beginning of 2015; while in the summer of 2015, 14 solo and 10 articulated Solaris-Škoda trolleybuses, with the capability of running 4 kilometers in off-wire mode will also be delivered to Budapest.
BKK has already done a lot and will continue to make Budapest a more liveable city: in the framework of the Heart of Budapest (Budapest Szíve) project numerous public spaces had been renovated and made greener. The most environmentally friendly public transport service, the MOL Bubi public bike-sharing system was launched, which opened a new chapter in the transport of Budapest. BKK’s goal is not a secret: we would like more and more people to opt for cycling for their short urban trips. New cycle paths have been created and the alignment of traffic in the city centre has been modified to support safe cycling.
BKK put into service FUTÁR, the automatic vehicle location and passenger information system based on GPS technology. Additionally, a modern dispatch centre was implemented, vehicles have been equipped with on-board computers and state-of-the-art passenger information systems, and FUTÁR display units have been mounted at stops to inform passengers about the exact departure of the next vehicle. Furthermore, customers have new mobile applications at their disposal for up-to-date travel information.
Budapest transport is on the right track for sustainable development with several planned projects in the pipeline. Currently BKK is working on the introduction of the open-loop automated fare collection (AFC) and e-ticketing scheme. More new buses and trams will enter service to provide barrier-free transport connections with fewer transfers. The need for refurbishment of metro line M3 has by now reached a critical stage; BKK will also commence this tremendous work in the next few months.
For more information: Tamás Kajdon, International Affairs Officer.
Updated : January 27, 2015