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M3 renovation set to boost bike-share scheme

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Budapestʼs bicycle-sharing system was used about 645,000 times last year, down slightly from 652,000 in 2015, business daily Világgazdaság reported Tuesday. The network has expanded to 124 docking stations and 1,486 bicycles since its launch in the fall of 2014.  

In its first year of operation, the non-profit system was used 815,000 times, the schemeʼs operator Center for Budapest Transport (BKK) said earlier.

The cost of operating the system, dubbed "MOL Bubi" after the Hungarian oil and gas giant that set it up, comes to almost HUF 260 million a year, BKK told Világgazdaság. MOL covers more than half of that cost, it added. Fees for using the system generate about HUF 70 mln in revenues annually.

Some 50,000 users have registered in the system so far, with the operator estimating around 100,000 people have tried the service.

The most popular stations are at Jászai Mari tér, Erzsébet tér, Kálvin tér, Fővám tér, Városháza Park and Szent Gellért tér, while the most popular periods for borrowing bikes are typically between 7.30 a.m. and 9.30 a.m. and between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays, as well as on Friday and Saturday evenings.

BKK said it expects MOL Bubi usage to climb this winter as the M3 metro line undergoes renovation.

MOL Bubi bicycles are assembled by Budapest-based bicycle maker Csepel Kerékpárgyártó. The procurement cost of each bicycle is HUF 230,000.

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