Budapest Public Transport

Aug 16th, 2007, 08:22 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2007
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Budapest Public Transport

Avoid at all costs the metro system in Budapest. It is complicated and designed to poach money from tourists. Both times I visited Budapest and tried to use the metro, I was accosted by hefty metro women demanding that I pay a bribe because I didnt get my ticket properly stamped. The fascist women who demand the bribes target tourists. Beware!
meffy is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 08:39 AM
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You obviously did not know that you have to validate your ticket when you enter the subway station. They may have been looking for a bribe, but if they were officials, they may also have been levying a fine on the spot. On the other hand, I would not be surprised if they target tourists, knowing that they might not have validated their tickets. The equivalent of speed traps in small towns.
Michael is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 09:06 AM
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The metro system in Budapest is not complicated. You need a valid ticket for each trip, or you are liable for an on-the-spot fine. The validating machines are prominently placed at most stations and you need to be inattentive to walk past them -- except, perhaps, for some stations on line 1. As I think of it, I don't remember any inspectors at stations on line 1 except where it intersects with the other lines at Deak Ferenc Ter. If they were truly targeting the ignorant, that's the line they should cover.

There is a strong inspection regime: a tourist would probably average one inspection each day. Inspectors include men and women of varying ages and degrees of heftiness. Funny that you should be targeted by hefty women.
Padraig is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 09:57 AM
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We took the metro to Aquincum to visit the museum and Roman ruins, and then on to Szentendre without incident. The most trouble we had was buying our tickets at the station where we departed. She had no English; we had no Hungarian, but it worked out I guess, at least it got us where we wanted to go. We took the hydrofoil back from Szentendre which made a good round trip.

We took taxis a couple of times and I don't remember them being very expensive, nor were we ripped off by the drivers.
Giovanna is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 10:12 AM
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Giovanna: Herself was disappointed that we didn't get to Aquincum on a recent visit. I hurt my foot and we had to curtail our schedule. It -- Aquincum, not my foot -- is not that heavily promoted (that's one of the odd things about Budapest -- some good stuff gets little attention).

My question: should Herself have been a little disappointed, or should missing out on Aquincum rate as a big disappointment? Have I got an excuse to go for another visit?
Padraig is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 10:23 AM
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We were in Budapest a couple of days ago. We met an American family who had a ticket but when they got checked were told it was the wrong ticket - they told us they received a big fine. Today on the tram in Prague we saw a couple receive an on the spot fine for a validated ticket that had expired. Beware. Take care
ozetraveller is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 10:53 AM
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I was in Budapest July 10-13 and was advised by a friend as to the rules before I went. The friend had spent a lot of time there.

We had no problems whatsoever using the subway.

The problem we did have was the line from the train station to Deak Ter was not operating when we arrived and we needed to take a bus to get to Deak Ter before boarding the subway. This was due to work on the subway lines.

In 4 days/3 nights in Budapest, we took only one taxi (to get to the train station to leave because we did not want to deal with the bus transfer again).

I am not saying your experience did not happen, but we had no problems using the subway in Budapest at all. There are, however, inspectors everywhere to check that you have tickets.
FauxSteMarie is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 11:13 AM
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Padraig : I'd jump at any excuse to return to Budapest. Three times in as many years for me already and now thinking of a fourth. Aquincum is a pleasant visit but if you've seen Roman ruins once in the world, you've seen them all IMHO. Or perhaps I'm just jaded having seen so many of them in Jordan and Turkey, after both visits of which I ended up in Budapest without wanting to see more. necessairly. I went to Aquincum more to experience a different area tha to see the ruins and its good for that too.

I too have ridden (is that a word ?)the subway and buses many times without incident but don't doubt that it could happen. I've also met a few tourists who were caught by the transit police for un-punched tickets but were let off when they pleaded ignorance of the process. I didn't think that it was too complicated myself, but am glad to see that they have newer electronic ticket punching machines on the buses and trams in place of those older ones where you have to push down on a lever to punch holes on your ticket. Often time they don't work properly and I witnessed an arguement between a local and an inspector aboard a bus where a ticket wasn't properly validated.

Haven't experienced harrassment (yet) though.
Mathieu is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 11:21 AM
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So can someone explain the rules for public transportation for Prague and Budapest? I am going there in October and am completely ignorant of the rules.

I have travelled the subway in Hong Kong, Paris and London so have at least basic skills and can read a subway map well.


LynnieD is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 11:31 AM
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Thank you, Mathieu.

Yes, we have seen Roman ruins elsewhere and might not be that interested unless they were unusual in some way, or the museum was especially informative.

But, like you, I am always happy to go to Budapest. Herself is a little less sold on the place and, having been there last month, might not be ready for another visit until we have cleared a number of destinations from our to-visit list. My target is to bump Budapest up a few places. I might have to resort to deception.
Padraig is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 11:41 AM
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Lynnie, the simplest (and probably cheapest) option for Budapest is to buy a pass for three or seven days. The 7-day pass currently costs 3600 Forints (which is not very much, perhaps about US$20), is date-marked on the date of issue, covers all public transport in the city (metro, trams, and buses), and you don't need to validate it. Just remember to carry it in an accessible pocket.

You can buy such passes in Prague also, but I don't know current prices. If, however, you stay in a central location you might not use it much -- the bits of Prague of interest to most visitors are generally close together.
Padraig is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 11:42 AM
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We were in Budapest in March-April. The metro system is so easy and small (only 3 lines) - I'm surprised anyone could say differently!

From what I remember, we bought a weekly ride pass - pay once and get it validated when you first use it (I believe) and you don't have to get it validated every time you go on the metro. Much better than paying for a single each time you wnat to use the metro - which you would need to do even when you transfer from one line to another on the same trip.

Yes, there are checkers at the entrances to the escalators going down to the platforms. No problem. Just whip out your pass. We rode on the metro constantly and never had a problem.
kenav is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 11:45 AM
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Right Padraig - With a weekly pass you don't ever need to validate it.
kenav is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 11:51 AM
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Memory may be fading as it's been a few years since we've visited Budapest, but don't you also have to sign your metro pass?

We rode the metro many times, without incident, however, we did see a few people (most likely tourists) pulled aside by the red arm banded patrols.

And I agree that Aquincum is under visited and under advertised but it's quite a fastastic place to visit.
Debs is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 01:13 PM
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Debs, your memory is fading only a little: you do not sign your travel pass, but you must print your name on it. I presume that you can be asked to show proof that you are the person whose name is on the pass, but I suspect that it does not happen very often.

I'll tell Herself that we have to return and visit Aquincum.
Padraig is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 10:27 PM
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Padraig: We are Roman history and ruins enthusiasts, so we are always open to visit any sites that are available on our trips. Aquincum is not a very large site but I thought worthwhile. I had never before seen manequins dressed in Roman garb in some of the buildings. Thought it rather odd. Aquincum was a military camp so much of the museum is devoted to that. There is a water organ on display that we thought was impressive.

I'm glad that we went, but don't think Herself need to suffer great disappointment. However, on your return to Budapest I would suggest you include it in your sightseeing.
Giovanna is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 10:53 PM
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I certainly agree that a 3 day or 7 day pass is the way to go. It makes things so easy - no need to worry about whether you have the right type of ticket, validation etc.

Even if you think it might cost a bit more than individual trips would add up to, the extra expense is well worth it for the ease of convenience and worry. Because we had it, we actually used the public transport more than we intended. Several times because it wasn't going to cost anything and in order to save time or tired feet, we jumped on a tram or bus that we saw going past in the right direction (without even knowing what is final destination was) and travelled on it until the tram/bus deviated from where we wanted to go - just got off at the next stop and continued walking from that point.

We had absolutely no trouble in working out what stops or lines we needed to use on the metro but did indeed see inspectors on most trips.
shandy is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 12:11 PM
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Purchased a three day pass in Prague yesterday and it cost 220 Kc. Transport system very easy to use.
ozetraveller is offline  

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