Critics cry foul over sightseeing bus tender

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Flickr/Budapest Hop on Hop Off Bus Tours

A municipal council tender to run a hop-on hop-off Budapest sightseeing bus service has been attacked by critics, who argue that the criteria may be tailored to favor just one company, Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet reported today. Three bidders are set to participate in the tender on a market worth HUF 1.5 billion hitherto shared by four companies.

A sightseeing bus in Budapest. (Photo: Flickr/Budapest Hop on Hop Off Bus Tours)

The three bidders in the strictly worded tender for a 20-year concession to run the service include a Hungarian-owned company, a foreign-owned company, and a consortium involving Jordanian business interests, Magyar Nemzet reported based on public records. 

To bid for the concession, companiesʼ annual net revenue from hop-on hop-off services must have been at least HUF 1.2 bln over the past three years, Hungarian news agency MTI reported. The winner of the concession must operate at least 25 buses and 39 bus stops in the capital, MTI added.

After the tender is completed, only one company will operate on the market worth HUF 1.5 billion, where currently four companies operate. Critics have said that the tender has been called in a manner tailored to suit only one company.

Three of the four companies currently serving the market wrote a letter to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán asking him to keep the market competitive and to issue licenses for five-year terms so that a stable legal environment can be created behind the service, online napi.hu reported on Sunday.

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