Although you can carry your bike on trams, trolley-buses and buses since 2014, the Centre for Budapest Transport (BKK) did not manage to expand this service to the metrolines. There are only a few European cities where bikes are forbidden in the metro. Though all the circumstances are met in Metroline 4, it is still forbidden.
Since 2009, 444.hu has sent several letters to BKK asking for the reasons, which are always the following:
- The transportation of bikes would only be safe in separate carriages.
- The passengers’ clothes would be dirty.
- The transport of bikes on the escalator is dangerous.
444 also tried to take foreign regulations to the argument that are applied in the big European cities, but there have always been some exceptions – Bucharest, for the longest time – where bikes were forbidden in the metro for sure. However, nowadays there are only a few European cities (including Budapest) where you cannot take the metro with your bike.
Of course, this does not mean that you can take your bike to any of the crowded carriages. Actually, there are two possible solutions in the bike-friendly cities:
- A certain number of bikes can be taken to a certain part of the metro, usually at its beginning or end (just like on the commuter rail – HÉV).
- Bikes cannot be taken to the metro in the rush hours so that nobody would stumble over them.
All of the elevators of Metroline 4 are suitable for carrying bikes, and it is also possible to take the bikes through the gates. Regarding metrolines, it is primarily due to safety risks that there has not been any leap forward yet – BKK answered to 444.
This is a little confusing, as Metroline 4, for example, is anything but crowded, and its maintenance is quite expensive for BKK. Selling only a few bike tickets would mean at least some leap forward. But it is also needed in other metrolines, and the lack of elevators cannot be an excuse. It is not an excuse in Prague either, where most of the stations do not have elevators yet.
Under the management of Dávid Vitézy, BKK started to test the system of transporting bikes in September, 2013. A tram (59), a bus (65/165) and a trolley-bus (77) were involved in the program. Though there has not been any bad experience, the program did not develop further. In addition to these three lines, bikes can be transported in the commuter rails, the cog-wheel railway and the ships of River Danube. If these lines are signed on the map, the same problem appears as in the case of cycle paths: these lines do not form a network, thus, they are suitable for only a few people.
444 has also collected all the cities in the European Union where passengers can take their bikes in the metro. Among the metrolines in 42 cities there are only a few ones where bikes are forbidden.
European cities where bikes can be taken to the metro: Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, Bilbao, Brescia, Brussels, Bucharest, Catania, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Genova, Hamburg, Helsinki, Lausanne, Lisbon, London, Lyon, Madrid, Milan, Munich, Naples, Newcastle/Sunderland, Nuremberb, Oslo, Palma de Mallorca, Prague, Rome, Rotterdam, Sevilla, Stockholm, Sofia, Vienna, Warsaw.
European cities where bikes can be transported in certain part of the metrolines: Paris, London.
European cities where bikes are forbidden in the metro: Budapest, Glasgow, Lille, Toulouse, Turin. (There is no available information about Marseille and Rennes.)
Though the Balkan States have never been the pioneers of environmentally friendly transport, they have run rings around us in this respect. Both Bucharest and Athens introduced the transportation of bikes in the metro a few years ago, moreover, in Athens it is free and available anytime. It has also been free in Warsaw since 2004.
Furthermore, in Bratislava, for example, you can take your bike to any bus or tram, they are only forbidden on the newest trolley-buses. However, there is a restriction of two bikes per vehicle only. Bikes are transported by trailers on the cog-wheel railway of Stuttgart, while it is a well-tried method in the United States that bikes can be put on the front of the buses.