Most of this expansion was thanks to a contract penalty that BKK enforced against the technical supplier led by ICT company T-Systems Hungary: Due to the delayed rollout of Bubi in spring of last year, the T-Systems consortia had to compensate BKK with HUF 180 million (EUR 589,000). Rather than paying cash, the providers agreed with BKK to add the new docking stations instead.
But that doesn't account for 100 percent of the expansion. One of the new stations, specifically the one at Corvin Sétány housing and shopping development, was financed by the property's owner. As such, it becomes the first Bubi docking station to be paid for with private money.
This represents a new possibility for system expansion, and a new opportunity for business people interested in the cyclist market. Bubi will install a docking station on your property for a fee, and will take care of its operation and maintenance thereafter. A large station such as the one at Corvin Sétány, with spaces for 30 bikes, along with a rental terminal capable of selling tickets with a chip card reader, is yours for HUF 6.83 million (EUR 21,700). After signing on the dotted line, the station will be installed in seven to eight months.
Why would someone shell out for such a price? According to János Berki, who headed the Corvin Corvin Sétány project for Futureal, a key consideration for the whole Corvin project was sustainability, with an accent on people and livability. This naturally included cycling facilities, including ample bike racks and changing rooms and showers for office spaces.
Berki didn't mention the docking station's impact on property value, but this may well have been an ulterior motive. According to new research, proximity to public bike sharing stations postively impacts on residential property value. The study, focusing on Montreal, Quebec, showed that for every single bike-share station located in a neighborhood,
"... $700 in property value is added to surrounding houses. Considering that, in Montreal, homes in a bike-sharing friendly neighborhood are, on average, within range of just over 12 stations, the value grows by almost $9,000; that's a 2.7 percent increase in sale value solely by virtue of living near a bike-sharing system."This makes sense to me. Public bikes not only make a neighbourhood more accessible to more people, they contribute to its appeal as a fashionable, modern quarter.
Meanwhile in Dopeville ... the blog kerekagy recently reported on a "Facebook protest" among regulars of the Matyas Pince, a restaurant at Marcius 5 ter that specialises in traditional Hungarian fare. A Bubi docking station was placed in front of the eatery's entrance, provoking complaints about how it detracted from the historic elegance of the place. Realising that the Matyas Pince menu would of course be heavy on pork, this is very much a case of pearls before swine.