Monday, January 5, 2009

Public transport bike pass behind schedule

From January 1, BKV is supposed to have introduced a bicycle pass that will that will allow holders to take their bikes on the HÉV and cogwheel railway -- the only bike-accessible lines in Budapest -- without having to buy a ticket. The pass would cost just HUF 500 a month, which would be worth the price even if you use this service just twice per month. Under existing rules, you have to buy a second personal ticket -- now HUF 290 a piece -- to take your bike.

For myself, this stands to be a huge savings, especially during winter. During these cold, dark months, I take my bike on the HÉV at least once every workday (on my evening commute, because I won't ride from Szentendre in the dark) and twice when it's too cold for the morning ride. I figure I spend an average of around HUF 8,000 a month just to transport my bike, so the prospect of this nearly free bike pass got me pretty excited.

The problem is, although BKV announced this new pass quite some time ago -- it wasn't available on schedule. I inquired about the "kerékpár berlet" yesterday at the Margit híd stop of the Szentendre HÉV line. "Sajnos nincs," the cashier told me, adding that she had no idea when they might be in stock. However, she did have a little piece of paper describing the terms and conditions for the new bike pass (see picture) in agonising, exhaustive detail.

So on my trip this morning, I paid the usual full price for the bike. And just for laughs, I asked the ticket checker if he knew when the new bike passes would be available. He eyed me suspiciously, and questioned where I had heard about these tickets. I told him BKV's homepage (I actually read it on, which has fresher information than BKV's site, but I could sense this checker had already pegged me for a fraud.) He frowned and said he'd ask about it.

My question is: If BKV had the time and resources to print up these stupid rule sheets, why couldn't they also have printed up the actual bike passes?


dalos said...

Hey Greg!

The bike-card is only available from 1. February on.

Greg Spencer said...

Thanks, Péter.

I should have known to check out MK's site.

I asked again Monday night at the Margit híd pénztár and they said the bike pass (matrica) would be available 'after the 16th'. It doesn't seem BKV employees are very informed about this.

To clarify though: You have to buy a BKV pass in order to get the bicycle matrica, right?

dalos said...

That's correct.