Gabor Kovacs

Gabor Kovacs

Car traffic is back to pre-pandemic levels, and as it was before the pandemic, there were traffic jams in the capital. Bicycle traffic has increased, but public transport use is only two-thirds of the 2019 level.

On Wednesday, June 16, the renovation of the Chin Bridge will actually begin, and the bridge will be closed to traffic at dawn, Samu Balogh, the mayor’s chief of staff, said at a press conference on major renovations in the capital. The renovation of the Pest Quay has already begun, along with the Qin Bridge, and two of the three major closures will be carried out. The renovation of the third Blaha Lujza Square is expected to begin in early July – but this will only limit traffic for 10 weeks.

Fidesz politicians and state media have repeatedly expressed their dissatisfaction with the congestion in the capital and the fact that many major investments are taking place at the same time. Balogh Samu justified the latter situation on the following grounds:

  • Major renovations are always scheduled in the summer because there is less traffic at that time.
  • Budget investments begin at the right time so as not to shock the transportation system at the same time.
  • All investments have been declining for a long time, even since the previous city administration, everything was basically urgent.
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The city administration hopes that the investments will make Budapest a nicer, better and greener city. The city administration asks and thanks for the patience of road users – Samu Balogh also asked anyone who can use public transportation or ride a bike instead. Because of the renovations, traffic restrictions are inevitable, so they try to make public transportation as fast and convenient as possible.

Buff David, a spokesman for the BKK, said the BKK will launch incentive campaigns to promote public transportation. In cooperation with BGYH, which operates spas, BKK tenants can take advantage of a 20% discount on spa tickets, after which there will be a joint program with car-sharing service providers, according to which BKK tenants can get usable minutes.

There are traffic jams because there are a lot of cars

Regarding traffic jams, Adam Bodor, Director of Mobility Development at BKK, drew attention to the fact that according to the measurements, passenger car traffic returned to the level of 2019. Moreover, it already exceeds it on access roads from the agglomeration, such as the entrance to the M3. Before the pandemic, congestion was common in the capital, and we’re mainly seeing them return. Free parking and the epidemic itself, which has led many to choose to drive, may play a role in the rapid recovery of motor vehicle traffic.

In contrast, public transport traffic has not yet returned to 2019 levels, and is currently around 65 percent. This means that while an average of 1.2 people are seated in cars, there is free capacity in public transportation vehicles.

And there has been a huge expansion in cycling, with bike meters showing record traffic – although there is still room for traffic growth compared to other cities frequented by drivers. Within seconds, the new Bubi (or Bubi 2.0) became popular, both in terms of the number of users per day and the number of rides per bike. The latter was 0.6 per day for my old Bubi lately, with Bubi 2.0 producing averages over 5 per day.

All is well on the Qin Bridge

The renovation of the Chin Bridge is progressing well, the tower crane is already on the Pest side, and the foundation of the Buda crane will begin with completion – reported Laszlo Horvath, Project Implementation Director. The lower scaffolding has been completed for renovation so that professionals can inspect the extent of wear of the lower sections of the bridge. Fortunately, there was no significant wear of the structural and supporting elements, but in other elements, for example, there are cable holders that are almost completely corroded by rust. According to László Horváth, this indicates that the renovation had already begun at the penultimate moment, if it had continued, the main supporting structure would have been damaged.

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Regarding the heavily criticized concrete of the Clark Adam Terre roundabout, the manager said it was inevitable, because the contractor needed the display area to move the demolished track slab pieces and install new ones. Upon completion of the work, the flower bed will be restored.

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