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Sightseeing bus in the Hungarian capital | source: bigbustours.com/budapest

Sightseeing monopoly in the making

D&T
July 26, 2016

The Budapest city council has invited tenders to operate "hop-on, hop-off" sightseeing buses in the city, the Hungarian news agency MTI reported. The concession is for 20 years and guarantees a monopoly on a market worth 1.5 billion annually.

The winner will have to operate at least 25 buses and 39 bus stops on a route of 70 sights in Budapest. The tender invitation excludes companies with less than HUF 1.2 bn net revenue from sightseeing services over the past three years. According to publicly available data, only three companies are eligible to bid: a foreign-owned and a domestic service provider and a consortium with ties to Jordan.

The Budapest sightseeing market is worth HUF 1.5 bn annually and has been shared by four companies. Critics have attacked the tender, saying that the criteria may be tailored to favor just one company, Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet reported on Tuesday.

Three of the four companies currently in the market have written a letter to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, asking him to keep the market competitive and to issue licenses for five-year terms so that a stable legal environment can be created behind the service, the website napi.hu reported.

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