According to the Budapest transport center’s (BKK) promise made last year, Budapest’s bike-sharing service MOL Bubi will be given a facelift with new bikes and a revamped rental system. The new bikes and operation will go live at the end of April.
Although shortly after its introduction in 2014 MOL Bubi became very popular, its use and popularity have been going downhill for years now. This has many obvious and underlying reasons: the appearance of competitors (Donkey Republic, Lime), the heavy bikes, and an outdated and difficult deposit format and process of renting.
Last May, the BKK announced they would revamp the system. According to Telex’s onsite report, the new bikes, still produced by Hungarian bike manufacturer Csepel, will be virtually identical to the old ones. However, they will weigh about 3.1 kg (or 15%) less, will be easier to navigate with smoother tires, three-speed transmission, and some more practical accessories.
In addition, the rental process will be easier and faster too, with a new, user-friendlier website and smartphone app. The security deposit system will be abolished as well, and a more flexible (and eventually cheaper) pricing system will be implemented. Later, Bubi will be integrated with BKK’s annual and three month passes, as well as with other various discounts. Meanwhile, BKK’s calculations expect the new system’s costs to decrease from HUF 55 million (EUR 151,116) to HUF 30 million (EUR 82,427).
The system will start operating with a 1,200-strong fleet, with state oil company MOL staying on as the financial backer of the project. The price of one of these new bikes amounts to around HUF 250,000 (EUR 689), while the old ones will probably be donated through the Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta. BKK also said at their press conference that fears of vandalism haven’t been valid over the years, only one of the bikes was thrown in the Danube.
In addition, Bubi’s docking stations will stay across the city. Additionally, designated, painted virtual docks will also be built where bikes can be left. Moreover, there would be opportunity to leave them elsewhere too, in exchange for paying an extra convenience fee.
Featured photo illustration by Balázs Mohai/MTI