BKK (Center of Budapest Transport) is trying to introduce the most modern electronic ticketing system of the world. The change is urgent, as Budapest has the most outdated ticketing system in the EU.
According to 444.hu, the capital’s representatives could manage to contract with German enterprise Scheidt and Bachmann in 2015. Budapest took up a loan from the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). But with the funds came the conditions, so the procurement was carried out in their not too transparent process.
EBRD does not prefer local companies, moreover, they announced a company quite inexperienced in this field as the winner of the competition. Another unfortunate circumstance is that the project is expensive even compared to international standards.
According to BKK’s current management, the project was not prepared appropriately, as the complicated systems’ integration was not taken into account. Meanwhile, the data protection law and the government’s e-ticket concept were also changed. The former leadership stated that the project was managed badly, there were no proper experts attached to it. Whichever version is true, the German company will receive another 10.4 million euros from the congress despite the critical amount of delay.
Of the 55.3 million euros of the EBRD loan 10.4 million was a reserve, and most of the 15 million from Budapest still remained. The company separated approximately 7.1 million euros for the improvement, and intends to spend another 33 million for engineering in the following years.
There were a lot of circumstances that made the project difficult. First, HÉV rakes were transferred to MÁV. Then the outer city bus services were taken by the Ministry of National Development from the municipal. Due to these changes, BKK had to debate with multiple partners. The delays in the reconstruction of Metro 3 also cause further difficulties.
The integration of the current and planned ticket dispensers also came out to be more difficult than expected. 366 machines need to be upgraded and connected instead of the planned 300, and it creates additional expenses.
The only good news is that the loan contract was renegotiated, so the interest will be 6.5 million euros during the project’s nine years of refunding, so it saves approximately 325,000 euros.
Now the total sum of expenses increased from 117.8 million euros to 119.6 million, which is quite high concerning the 207.1 million euros of total income from ticket sales in 2016. The upkeep of the system will cost 6.5 percent of the total income during the nine years of refunding time.
The system should be put into work until the end of 2018, but concerning the current state of the process, it is quite unlikely. The system integrations, gates, manual ticket checking devices and validators for vehicles are all incomplete.
Moreover, public transport will not be unified in Budapest even after these problems will be solved, as according to the plans, the same tickets will be valid for transports both within the borders of the capital and the suburbs. As long as a passenger does not have a valid ticket, they can only travel with MÁV or Volán ticket.