public transportation tramway metro subway trolley bus

Public transportation in Budapest

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Old Ticket Validator, Budapest, Hungary, Public Transport Tram

Though local people in Budapest always complain about public transportation we think that in the downtown the network is quite good. During the hot summer of 2007 became clear that we need air-condition on the vehicles (usually there is no air-condition) and the suburb's network is critical but as a tourist you can rely on public transportation in the downtown of Budapest.

I have found this remark on the website of the U.S. Embassy of Hungary:

Local Public Transportation

Public transportation in Budapest is excellent. Budapest and its environs are well serviced by a network of buses, trams, trolleys, and subway lines. Ticketing is on the honor system; however, Metro police make routine ticket checks and will issue on-the-spot cash violations for failure to present a correctly punched, valid ticket or metro pass. Monthly and yearly passes are available at major metro stations and can be used for all forms of public transportation.

Taxis are readily available 24 hours a day and, despite some documented taxi scams, are reasonably priced. Fares vary depending on the company and the time of day. A highly dependable Minibus service operates to and from Budapest’s Ferihegy Airport; its set fare is considerably less than a taxi.


Ticketing

Single ticket

The basic ticket for using public transportation in Budapest is the single ticket:

Budapest Metro ticket

This image of the ticket shows an older price. The recent (as of 2013) is 350 HUF (Hungarian Forint). You may click on the link to BKV where you can see the actual fares:

bkv public transport ticket prices




Tickets are valid on the entire length of bus, tram, trolley bus lines, metro lines, the Millennium Underground, the cogwheel railway for one trip, but are only valid on suburban railway (HÉV) lines within the administrative boundary of Budapest.


This single ticket is universal but you can find several other tickets and cards which may be interesting for you if you wanna make your trips within the city cheaper:
['MINTA' means Sample]


Single ticket


Seven-day travel-card




Weekend tickets for family




One-day travel card




Vehicles:


Metro (subway)

There are three metro lines in Budapest. The 4th is under construction (the estimated time of opening this 4th line is 2010).


The Map of the Metro lines.

As you can see, the three lines have one meeting point only at the Deák tér (Deák square) which is right in the downtown. When it comes to public transportation you can say that the Deák Square is a central point.







M1

The M1 line was the second underground in Europe (the 1st was in London) which has started its operation in 1896. The more than 110 years old line was in 1995 totally reconstructed and looks very pretty. It is worth to visit it, even as an attraction not only as transport purposes.


When you approach the M1 line, search for this sign and the stairs that leads you underground:



Metro Station Entrance, originally uploaded by L e n o r a.
For the longest time I thought "Földalatti" was the name of a station, but it actually denotes the Millenium Line subway. The name of the station is in small letters above the word "Földalatti." This one is at Vörösmarty Square, just outside the famed Cafe Gerbeaud. (remark by Lenora)
M2 and M3

The plans for the two further metro lines were made as early as in 1895, defining the main directions of north-south and east-west. The first plans for the present-day two lines were made in 1942, and the Council of Ministers' decree enacted its building in 1950. Metro 2 was originally planned to connect two major railway stations, Keleti (Eastern) and Déli (Southern) pályaudvar. They wanted to complete it by 1955, but construction was ceased for financial and political reasons from 1954 till 1963. It was finally opened with seven stations on April 4 in 1970. (wikipedia)

Oh yes, things are moving fast in Budapest:) We are waiting for the opening of the M4 line in 2010. I hope they wont mix up the numbers to 2100:)



Budapest train, originally uploaded by argenteea.

Tramway

There are several tramways in Budapest. The most interesting for a traveller is the Tramway No 2, since it goes along the Danube providing a great view to the Budapest panorama. When it comes to public transportation, the tramway provides a bigger advantage than buses. Since it has a separated rail tramway, it is not affected by traffic jams which belongs to the everyday of Budapest.

A tramway on a Budapest bridge, originally uploaded by jerome.bailly.

Other important tramways are the No 4-6. These are actually two separated lines No 4. and No 6, but since their route is almost the same (at least in the downtown it is) everyone call them Tramway No 4-6. Since 2006, the newest Siemens Combino trams move on this line.



Race, originally uploaded by zsoolt.

Bus, trolley

The original Hungarian bus is the Ikarus.



Mostly you can find this brand in Budapest or lately they have bought some Volvo buses for public transportation. The bus in Budapest is always BLUE and the trolley is RED. To find the stop always search for this board (the photo shows a trolley stop. For buses and trams, the symbol is different in the same frame)


Interesting story about the trolleys in Budapest that all of them have the number 70+. 70, 72, 78, 76, 73...these are the lines I suddenly remember. They got these numbers because when they were introduced in Budapest Stalin was 70 years old :)


Zách utca trolleybus parking in Budapest

HÉV

HÉV (Helyi Érdekű Vasút) is the suburban railway. On some photos which visitors posted, I often see that they call it subway or metro but its actually not. Its actually easy to recognize: The HÉV is always green. Not a modern vehicle, actually I do not like to use it, but can be practical between Budapest and the surrounding towns.


The most important to know about HÉV is that the tickets or cards you use for the Budapest public transportation are valid only until the border of Budapest. When you use HÉV to go out of Budapest (for example to Szentendre) you have to buy additional tickets at the station. If there is no ticket kiosk in vicinity, you can buy the additional tickets from the controller on the train.


Our advices about public transportation:
We really recommend the usage of the public transportation in Budapest. In the downtown, its more comfortable than fighting with the traffic jams or parking places by a car. Public transportation helps you to connect with local people, while sitting in a taxi is always almost like watching the whole city from a TV :). The network in the downtown is quite good, and some lines provides transport services at night.

Ok it has disadvantages, too:
- usually no air-condition,
- the staff of the public transportation company hardly speaks English,
- old vehicles (i am not sure if its a disadvantage, for example I love the old tramways 47 or 19)
- controllers can be troublesome

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