Seventy-six BuBi (Budapest Bike) stations have been set up citywide with 1,100 light-green bikes sitting there waiting to roll, night and day. The HUF 899 million project should have started in April…
Budapest Transport Centre (BKK) says the start-up has been delayed by technical problems with the software. No new date has been set to get the BuBis up and running.
Everything looked fine at first. The idea was to provide Budapesters and visitors with an alternative to public transport or cars, without having to own and maintain their own bicycle; just like in many other European cities.
In the past few weeks the BuBis have been subject to strict operational testing, with worrying results: according to index.hu the bikes were fully operational in only 50-80% of cases. Only 67 of the 76 stations were successfully tested. The detected problems included not being able to change the operating language and on occasion the BuBis locked themselves spontaneously. Sometimes the accumulator of the board computers suddenly went flat and all functionality was lost.
According to the BKK website, only the contractors are to blame and especially T-Systems Magyarország Zrt. BKK’s BuBi tender was won by T-Systems partnering up with bike manufacturer Csepel and German company NextBike GmbH. Due to the delay, T-Systems must pay a HUF 1.8 million fine per day.
The contract also states that if T-Systems is not able to solve the problems by 16 July, BKK has the right to terminate. However, for BKK this is a last resort. T-Systems is asking for a bit more patience from the public on its website. The company says the BuBi system proved to be more complex than expected and more time is required to guarantee a problem-free operation.
The Budapest system is in fact more complicated than in other cities: there is not only one board computer, where you can activate the bike, but also a terminal at each station – each can be paid with a MOL card or with a PIN code that can be purchased at the BKK. No doubt, without the application of these parallel functions it would have been easier to set up, but T-Systems was aware of the requirements.
BKK is not naming a launch date but at a recent press conference they mentioned a start-up sometime in July. As the troublesome software advises: “Please wait.”