Increasing cycling trend in Budapest

By Carla Giaume / Updated: 04 Oct 2022

Budapest public transport authority and operator BKK recently announced that August 2022 saw the highest number of bike trips registered. An extraordinary number of bike rentals was recorded with the city’s bike sharing service, MOL BuBi, which is part of Budapest’s public transport service.

The growing trend has continued over the summer, with more people riding bicycles more often. In one of the major squares of the Hungarian capital, Bem Square, over 144,000 bike crossings were recorded.

Similarly, a 7% increase was recorded compared to August 2021 and a 15% increase from August 2019, the year before the pandemic. Many authorities, including BKK, highlight how public bike-sharing schemes have been an effective alternative to crowded public transport in the times of social distancing.

Cycling is still weather-dependent

During August 2022 alone, MOL BuBi registered 358,000 bike rentals, only 8,000 less than the record-breaking number registered two months before, in June. The data collected by the public bike-sharing company is in line with the general trend of transport data collected and published yearly and monthly by BKK.

However, bicycle use is still largely affected by temperatures and the weather. Higher cycling trends are in fact recorded during the summer – as soon as the summer starts – with relevant peaks in mid-June, as confirmed by BKK’s 2021 Traffic Report. A second peak is usually registered in mid-August, when temperatures are not extremely hot (as it is the case in July). Then cycling numbers drop after the summer, with less than 20 thousand bike trips per month in December or in January. MOL BuBi, instead, records its peak in mid-September when the school starts again.

Still a long way to go

Despite the promising results reported by BKK for the year 2021, a very little percentage of people in Budapest are riding bikes as their main transport mode (only 2%). 47% still prefer moving by public transport, 35% by car and 16% on foot.

As in many other cases around Europe and around the world, the 2021 data is still deeply influenced by the pandemic, which encouraged people to reconsider their way of moving around cities, in many cases “pushing” people to go back to their private cars. Nonetheless, BKK - as other transport authorities around Europe - is encouraging people to adopt alternative and more sustainable transport modes, including bikes. BKK aims to foster cycling not only during the summer but to shift more people to cycling for short trips to complement local public transport options.


Original article published by on 05 September 2022.

Photo Credit: © KOLjkA - no permission to re-use image(s) without separate licence from Shutterstock.

Eastern Europe
Scheme appraisal
Shared mobility
Walking and cycling