HUNGARY: Budapest Mayor István Tarlós and President of national transport authority NKH Gyula Győri announced on January 6 that the final permit has been granted for Line M4 of the Budapest metro to operate without drivers on a permanent basis, following successful passenger-carrying tests without drivers between September and December.

Construction of the 7·4 km underground line between Keleti and Kelenföld main line stations began in 2006 and it opened for passenger service in March 2014. As not all of the 10 stations could accommodate the length of train required for the design capacity, a decision was taken to run shorter trains more frequently. The train control system supplied by Siemens allows for up to 30 trains/h, with a capacity of 20 100 passengers/direction/h.

Although the line was designed for driverless operation, services began with on-board staff to speed up the regulatory approval for opening of the line. The 15 four-car Alstom Metropolis trainsets used on Line M4 have cab partitions that can be removed overnight. None of the stations has platform screen doors, but an LED strip flashes when a train is approaching, and station staff are also deployed to supervise the platforms.

Line M4 has 99·96% availability, but current ridership of 158 000 passengers per day is below the original estimate of 340 000.