The first renovated metro train started to operate on line M3 on 20 March 2017. At the inaugural event, Mayor István Tarlós announced that from the summer of 2018 only trains each consisting of six upgraded metro cars will carry passengers on the line.
The “blue metro” line has Hungary's largest ridership among public transport lines: half a million passengers travel daily on the 17-kilometre-long route with 20 stations – said Mayor Tarlós when the first renovated metro car was launched. He reminded the audience that the construction of metro line M3 "began well back in the 1970s" and the first section of the route – between Deák Ferenc tér and Nagyvárad tér – was opened in 1976.
He said that the General Assembly of Budapest Municipality had decided three years ago about the modernisation of the total fleet. The winning bid in the procurement process came from the successor company of the metro cars’ original manufacturer, Metrowagonmash of Russia. It was the winning bidder's task to examine the old cars and to decide responsibly to what extent the old parts would be replaced in order for them to be operable for at least 20 more years. Mayor Tarlós pointed out that the manufacturer would provide a 30-year warranty for the metro cars instead of 20 years as was the case for the former cars; thus circa three million kilometres of safe running will be guaranteed. The exterior of the upgraded metro cars harmonises with the colour scheme and design of the vehicles currently operating on lines M2 and M4, while the interior is more customer friendly with ventilation and passenger information systems as well as with designated areas for wheelchair and baby carriage passengers. According to the project schedule, two refurbished cars are planned to enter service each month. The total fleet will comprise 220 cars with the last renovated train to enter service in July 2018.
Mr Tarlós emphasized that the reconstruction of metro line M3 does not end with the restoration of the metro cars. Recently a tender has been issued for the refurbishment of the northern and southern sections of the line. He added: if the tender process goes according to plan, the renovation of the metro line's infrastructure may begin this year and by 2020, the entire line will have been fully renewed.