ALLWIN-green. This was my first thought when I first saw it. Sure it does not ring a bell anyone except our favourite stationer and our 20 colleagues. We had no idea seven years ago when ALLWIN was established that our corporate identity would base on the exact same green that has become MOL’s green after its rebranding. And what has become Budapest’s public bike-sharing scheme’s, Bubi’s green.
I am a cyclist. Not that hard-core one riding in the same clothing with the same shoulder bag during rain, snow and sunshine. But I do get sometimes to the Buda hills and once a year I traditionally cycle around the Lake Fertő. I used to cycle more in the city, but I had more and more children and slopes have become steeper and steeper.
I am a manager. Not that hard-core one always wearing tiptop-suit with bright-coloured-tie, but the jeans-with-shirt type instead.
I was really looking for meeting Bubi. Why? Because I can remember always envying the public bike sharers when I visited West-European big towns like London or Wien. They got off the public transport vehicle, passed a few meters and with one single beep they hop-on the bike. Not only the tourists, but anyone who preferred cycling instead of public transport or driving a car. And I believe Bubi became this: an optimal opportunity.
I often go for business meetings from Buda to the city centre. I do not even give a chance to go by car, usually public transport is the winning solution. When I got to know that we were going to have Bubi, I immediately knew that I would try among the firsts. And so did I. Thanks to my irreplaceable assistant's brilliant organizing work, I managed to get among the first thousand testers. Furthermore, among the first ten. I raced back from the countryside to Budapest to sign the contract at BKK Customer Service Centre on the T-01 day and after a few journalists I got into the TOP10 public testers. It only took a few days to complete the mandatory ten rides and I confess that I have forgotten couple of times that only half-an-hour is for free.
And about cycling. You have to cycle hard. Bubi is a tough personality. It is unique because it cannot be stolen and robust in order to meet the challenges. Tyres are puncture-proof, you neither have to glue after cycling into a nail and nor have to pump in sunny days when air disappears. These are bulking components and the rolling resistance cannot be compared to a racing bike neither. Even fixie bikers often pass me in the bike lane, but I don’t care – I am a proud and comfortable Bubi-biker. Because I’m on my way to a business meeting. There are 3 docking stations next to our office. I am mostly heading easy-accessible locations in the centre, and I do have favourite docking stations there already.
My own, absolute personal Bubi assessment:
Positive: green, easy docking (card and PIN both work well), many docking stations in Pest. More bikes can be hired with one pass so you can ride a Bubi together with your business partner. Perfect solution for small trips.
Negative: less docking stations in the Buda side, hard to cycle, gear could be better, purchasing a pass in unnecessarily complicated.
The web-surface is very clear and up-to-date, you can immediately see after docking if the return was successful. All-in-all, infrastructure works fine.
The light has gone green for Bubi and the system has gone live too. Anyone can cycle who purchases a pass. And Bubi for business? For small trips in the city centre, or from one side of the Budapest’s river to the other or back, it is obviously yes. For further distances you get tired and sweaty, but it is not for suburban transport neither. Next time I visit London or Wien, I will give a try to their public bikes and I won’t be jealous any more.
Dániel Szöllősi's writing was also published at Computerworld in Hungarian.