May 3, 2014

New telebus service boosts passenger numbers in Budapest suburbs

In late 2013, a regular bus line in a sparsely populated area was extended and a call-based feeder minibus service was introduced. Passenger numbers have exceeded expectations.

In an effort to improve mobility services on the outskirts of the Hungarian capital, the Centre for Budapest Transport (BKK) extended a regular bus line into a previously unserved area. In addition, in order to bring passengers to the local backbone route, an on-demand minibus service was later launched. Another minibus service was also launched in a second location to transport passengers to an existing standard bus line.

In the first location, 35 percent of the passengers who had been using the existing line began to use the extended route. The newly launched on-demand minibus service is used by more than 500 passengers each month (mainly commuters) — an impressive figure, bearing in mind the area’s low population density. The second minibus service transports around a thousand passengers per month. One of the minibus lines collects passengers at pick-up points, while the other stops at 10 locations at scheduled departure times, but only if passengers have sent a request.

The minibus can be ordered by telephone, half an hour in advance during peak times and one hour in advance in off-peak times. On the extended regular bus line, the service for the return leg can also be requested from the bus driver during the onward journey. Regular public transport tickets and passes are valid on the minibuses, or a single ticket can be purchased from the driver for a slightly higher price (EUR 1.20 rather than EUR 1.00).

The Telebusz service has proved successful: passengers are provided with a full service, but if no one orders the minibus no empty vehicle is circulating on the roads. Experience has shown that about 25 percent of the scheduled departures are actually requested by passengers as a daily average, which rises to more than 70 percent in peak hours. Although this is the first on-demand minibus service in Budapest, the concept is not new to the Hungarian capital: one of the regular night bus services has also operated on demand for the last 10 years.

Further information (in English) can be found in the newsletter of the European Metropolitan Transport Authorities.


Photo source: Budapest Transport Centre