The popular public bicycle system has been available in Budapest since 2014 but is now taking a break to address some issues that had made it less popular: heavy bicycles, complicated registration and the HUF 25,000 deposit required.
This past spring, MOL Bubi initiated a monthly fee of HUF 100 and online registration and also canceled the deposit, all of which resulted in an increase in the number of registered customers exceeding 100,000.
Now, the operator BKK has issued a public procurement to further improve the system; the new MOL Bubi system should be available to users starting in spring 2021.
Plans call for 1,200 completely new, lighter bicycles in Budapest, with the possibility of increasing that by another 400 at any time. Bikes will have puncture-resistant, inflated tires, plus, there will be a flexible tariff system and those who have a BKK season ticket can expect significant discounts. Users will also be able to take advantage of a new user-friendly application.
The 158 docks currently available will remain spread across the city, but BKK will also test so-called free-floating stations for the convenience of users in the future. This could allow customers to park or pick up their bikes at various docks pre-designated virtually.
Since the launch of MOL Bubi, 2,071 apple-green bicycles have been “rented” approximately 3 million times, with customers typically using the bikes for eight minutes at a time and covering a total of some 6 million kilometers while protecting Budapest from 1 million kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions.
No electric bikes are planned for the new MOL Bubi system. The reason for this is that e-bikes would significantly increase the cost of maintaining the system, as not only the acquisition but also the subsequent operation of these bikes would be many times higher than that of conventional bikes.
A new service provider for the system still needs to be found, but the new system will be able to go online after the successful completion of the ongoing tender and conclusion of the contract.