The renovated Deák Ferenc Square and Ferenciek Square stations on metro line 3 were handed over on Monday, MTI reports.

Minister of Land Development Tibor Navracsics said at the press conference at Deák Ferenc Square station, in connection with the handover: "while political debates may arise from time to time between the government and the capital's leadership, I think we need to look beyond them: strategically, in the medium and long term." The development of Budapest, the improvement of the quality of services and the satisfaction of the people living here are in the common interest of all of us, he stated.

The minister recalled that the European Union (EU) and the government had contributed a significant amount to the reconstruction. Tibor Navracsics said that Budapest is also "excellently placed" in a very close competition between metropolitan and capital regions, where it has to compete with Warsaw, Vienna, Bratislava, Bucharest, Zagreb, Munich and Berlin. "It is also in Hungary's interest that Budapest is able to stand its ground in this competition," he emphasised.

The minister said that according to their calculations, the majority of the country's population, approximately 5-5.2 million people, has come to Budapest more often, even daily. Due to its economic strength and cultural "charisma", Budapest is not only the centre of Hungary and Central Europe but also of Europe and the EU, said Tibor Navracsics. He said that the metro renovation is therefore an important step in terms of the competitiveness of Budapest and the country.

The renovated Ferenciek Square station on metro line 3 (Photo: MTI/Zoltán Balogh)

Mayor Gergely Karácsony said: The development of Budapest and the capital's public transport is a matter not only for the people of Budapest but also for the agglomeration and the whole country. As he noted, half a million people travel on metro line 3 every day. The development of the nation's capital is not only a city issue but a national one, he added.

The Mayor also said: it was up to us whether the metro reconstruction would be an exception, which "reinforces the rule that it is relatively rare that we can rejoice in such joint successes, and rare that we can rejoice in using taxpayers' money for useful things" It is up to us whether there will be more of these, or whether this is an exception that reinforces the rule, and the common goal of strengthening Hungary's competitiveness through Budapest and the capital is lost in the political debate, he said. Gergely Karácsony also touched on the fact that in the next seven-year EU cycle, money could in principle be available for the development of the Göncz Árpád City Centre station and several other transport projects. The Mayor encouraged Tibor Navracsics to "help unlock the 55 per cent that has been blocked to Budapest and Hungary".

Gergely Karácsony thanked those who contributed to the renovation, among others, the government and the EU for the funds, former Mayor István Tarlós and the previous city administration for their work, the BKV and the Budapest Transport Centre (BKK), as well as to the people of Budapest for their patience.

Four more stations remain to be renovated, and according to plans, the complete renovation of metro line 3 will be finished in May this year (Photo: BKK)

Tibor Bolla, CEO of BKV Zrt., said that with the handover of the two stations, the metro renovation is nearing its end. The renovation of the newly handed-over stations began in 2020 and cost around 20 billion HUF. He said that the renovation of metro line 3 exceeds 220 billion HUF. He said one of the biggest difficulties of the reconstruction was that the metro had to be reconstructed while trains were running in sections. Tibor Bolla said that four stations are still to be handed over and that the complete reconstruction of metro line M3 is scheduled to be completed in May 2023.

According to BKK's press material, Arany János Street and Nyugati Railway Station stops, as well as Dózsa György Road station, will be opened to passengers in March with barrier-free access. After that, trains will run on the entire line, but will not stop at the Nagyvárad Square and Lehel Square stations. The metro replacement will cease, and the two mentioned stations will be accessible by station replacement services.

According to the plans, the renovated Nagyvárad Square and Lehel Square stations will open to passenger traffic in May, and this will complete the reconstruction of metro line 3. After the renovation, all stations will be accessible without barriers, they wrote.

The renovated Deák Ferenc Square station on metro line 3 with the escalator (Photo: MTI/Zoltán Balogh)

The platform of the renovated Deák Ferenc Square station (Photo: BKK)

According to BKK's earlier information, until 9 pm – in addition to the fact that from noon the metro from Deák Ferenc Square to Kőbánya-Kispest will already run – from Göncz Árpád City Centre to Kálvin Square, then the replacement buses will run according to the usual evening traffic to Kőbánya-Kispest.

From Tuesday on weekdays, the metro will run on two sections during the day, between Kőbánya-Kispest and Deák Ferenc Square, and between Göncz Árpád City Centre and Újpest Centre. Metro replacement buses will continue to run between Deák Ferenc Square and Göncz Árpád City Centre, and the M3A replacement bus will also run between Nyugati Railway Station and Göncz Árpád City Centre.

On weekday evenings and weekends, the metro will continue to run between Göncz Árpád City Centre and Újpest Centre, while the replacement buses will run between Kőbánya-Kispest and Göncz Árpád City Centre. Trains between Kőbánya-Kispest and Deák Ferenc Square will not stop at Nagyvárad Square due to the reconstruction of the station.

After the completion of the renovation, all metro stations will become barrier-free (Source: BKK)

Source: MTI

Cover photo: The renovated Ferenciek Square station on metro line 3 on 23 January 2023 (Photo: BKK)