Based on the order made by the Centre for Budapest Transport (BKK) VOLÁNBUSZ Ltd. is taking over the operation of bus services in community transport in certain lines in the agglomeration, which have an important role in the Budapest traffic. BKK and VOLÁNBUSZ will provide higher quality services to the population of the capital and the 11 agglomeration settlements with MAN and RABA-VOLVO Accessible Low Floor (ALF) buses also equipped with AC systems.

The new vehicles were officially handed over to the transport companies on 4th April 2014 in Budapest and passengers can use the buses in transport from the middle of April.

Photo: Gergely Botár

Based on the agreement made by the Ministry of National Development and The Municipality of Budapest the Centre for Budapest Transport (BKK) announced a public procurement procedure for the performance of the related tasks, which was won by VOLÁNBUSZ Ltd. for the period of 8 + 2 years. Pursuant to the Agreement concluded in February 2014 the renewed services will first be available for the population of Pécel as of April this year on the 169E line. The other ten agglomeration lines (Budakeszi, Budaörs, Diósd, Gyál, Halásztelek, Nagykovácsi, Remeteszőlős, Solymár, Szigetszentmiklós and Törökbálint) will be taken over by VOLÁMBUSZ at scheduled dates before the end of June. The state-owned public service company purchased 167 buses for HUF 11 billion, of which 150 buses will be used in the agglomeration transport operated by the Centre for Budapest Transport (BKK). The new buses will run on the lines No 13, 22, 64, 38, 40, 40E, 63, 84E, 88, 89E, 94E, 140-140A-140B, 169E, 172, 188E, 218, 240E, 272, 294E and the night bus services operated in the agglomeration.

The 106 MAN A21 Lion’s City and the 61 Rába-VOLVO 7900 buses meet all modern needs: the vehicles are full-length low-floor, equipped with a camera system and AC system to ensure comfortable travel. Accessibility is also enhanced with the folding ramps. Rába-VOLVO buses are equipped with the improved, low-emission Euro V EEV engines. The MAN vehicles are equipped with Euro VI. engines, which are introduced for the first time in the Hungarian community transport, and the state-of-the-art automatic transmission, which also contribute to the reduction of environmental load. Every fifth new vehicle is equipped with automatic passenger counter (APC) systems to support traffic organization tasks. The buses will also be connected to the FUTÁR System; therefore the indoor and outdoor digital displays located in the cabin and on each side of the vehicle will continuously provide real-time information on the route and the next stops.

Photo: Gergely Botár

Pál Völner, Minister of State for Infrastructure in the Ministry of National Development said that the future of the Hungarian community transport is determined by the metropolitan agglomeration transport providing 250 million trips annually. Competitive supply must be primarily ensured in this area so that the sector could at least preserve its share in the division of labour in transport. In the past four years the Government supported the development of suburban community transport with more than HUF 320 billion. Investments can be continued with an even greater momentum as the urban and suburban transport will be managed as separate priorities in the Integrated Transport Development Operational Programme. In the future the Government plans to support primarily the procurement of high-capacity DMUs and EMUs, the modernisation of the suburban railway lines and the development of the intermodal passenger transport nodes.

Kristóf Szatmáry, Minister of State for Economic Regulation in the Ministry of National Economy emphasized that on the districts of Budapest, in rural towns and in intercity bus services the bus fleet of the public transport companies has been significantly improved so far, but this process cannot stop. One of the important elements of the Government’s reindustrialisation programme is to restart the bus manufacturing in Hungary building on the domestic expertise and manufacturing capacity and that the buses manufactured with international cooperation should also be competitive in the foreign markets.

István György, Deputy Lord Mayor, highlighted in his speech that for István Tarlós, Lord Mayor, and for the leadership of the Municipality of Budapest the renewal of the infrastructure and vehicle fleet, and the bus fleet of Budapest is of major importance in the metropolitan community transport. Including the agglomeration buses recently handed over a total of 300 new buses and 200 well-maintained, used, modern low-floor buses were put into service since 2010. With the 500 vehicles the average age of the Budapest bus fleet, which is outstandingly high in Europe, was successfully and notably reduced. The high average age of the buses was due to the fact that the previous city council had not purchased any buses for a lot of years – e.g. from 2006 to 2010. Budapest shall continue the renewal of the bus fleet; from autumn new low-floor hybrid buses will arrive in the capital.

Photo: Gergely Botár

Dávid Vitézy, CEO of the Centre for Budapest Transport (BKK) explained that a comprehensive reform of the Budapest bus transport was completed since the establishment of the Centre. Due to the fleet renewal the number of cancelled services was decimated (from 5% to 0.5%), the ratio of modern, accessible vehicles was doubled and the environmental load dropped to a fraction with the replacement of the 20-23 years old buses informally referred to as “smelter fugitives”. The Agreement made between BKK and VOLÁNBUSZ is exemplary as community transport can only compete with car transport if there is a coordinated and integrated traffic organization. The CEO of BKK pointed out that pursuant to the Agreement concluded by Mrs László Németh, Minister of National Development and István Tarlós, Lord Mayor of Budapest, the schedules, service numbers and tariffs will fit into the regular metropolitan BKK system.

Gergely Dévényi, CEO of VOLÁNBUSZ Ltd. stated that he was very proud that the nearly 90-year old company won the call for tenders to operate passenger transport on the agglomeration lines. Due to one of the largest investments made in the history of VOLÁNBUSZ, the services will be provided by purchasing brand new, high quality buses meeting the 21st century requirements. In order to serve the agglomeration lines nearly 400 new employees will join the “VOLÁNBUSZ Family”. The long standing company, which is experienced in passenger transport, will ensure the seamless takeover and modern, comfortable travel for passengers.