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Disruption ahead as M3 renovation begins at last

The northern stretch of Budapestʼs M3 metro line will be closed for renovation for a year from Monday, November 6, Budapest Mayor István Tarlós announced on Thursday. The stretch affected in the first phase of M3 renovations runs between the Lehel tér station and the Újpest-Központ terminus.   

From November 6, the northern stretch of line M3 between Újpest-Központ and Lehel tér will be closed for reconstruction, while along the rest of the route - between Lehel tér and the southern terminus at Kőbánya-Kispest - the metro will remain in service from the first morning departure until 8.30 p.m. on working days.

After 8.30 p.m. on working days and all day at weekends, replacement buses will run along the entire length of the metro line. According to the website of the Center for Budapest Transport (BKK), which manages the city transport and infrastructure, the reason for the full replacement of the line in off-peak hours is to allow reconstruction work to proceed as quickly as possible.

Tarlós noted that the full line closures will accommodate tunnel renovations along the southern stretch. The renovation of the tunnels along the entire length of the line is slated to last until late 2020, added the mayor.

For travel between Újpest-Központ and Lehel tér, metro replacement buses and tram services, as well as other bus lines serving metro stations in the area but diverted from Váci út, are recommended.

An additional 90 articulated, low-floor replacement buses will operate during the period, with about 60 running along the closed stretch of the route, Tarlós said. The buses can manage 60-70% of the metro lineʼs peak capacity, while 20% can be taken over by the tram network and the rest by alternative routes, he added.

The BKK warns that journey times will increase by around 10-15 minutes if passengers opt for replacement services or any other transport mode.

The mayor noted that contracts have been signed on renovating the stations along the northern stretch at a cost of HUF 24.1 bln, and the tunnels at a cost of HUF 47.8 bln.

New public procurement tenders will be launched for the renovation of the further stretches of the M3 line, added Tarlós.

Further details of the M3 reconstruction can be found here, with more specific information on public transport services during the renovation period here.