Warning: Budapest Airport Minibus

Jan 31st, 2001, 08:32 AM
  #1  
Jim
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Warning: Budapest Airport Minibus

Just got back from my first trip to Budapest and had a bad experience with the minibus.
Upon arrival I purchased a return trip ticket,which The lady at the minibus counter told me would be cheaper than buying two individual tickets. 1650 instead of 1800 each way. So I'm handed my tickets and am told to wait for the bus to my hotel,it gets there, I hand the driver my tickets; remember it's my first time here and I don't speak Hungarian, he rips the tickets and gives me my receipts, I see one slip of paper that says "Return" so I place the slips in my passport so I don't lose them.
To arrange your pickup back to the airport all you do is tell the front desk of your hotel to call the minibus company and pick you up about an hour and a half before your flight time the next day.
Departure day arrives and I meet the bus at the pre-arranged time and hand him my ticket along with a yellow slip with the same number on it as the white slip that says return. This is where the problem begins.
I'm told by the driver that speaks no English, which is fine since I speak no Hungarian,
that the ticket I have is not valid since it's missing a stub that should be attached to it, that I must purchase a one way trip so he can take meto the airport.
I was so angry since I had the ticket in my passport and it says Return on it, we
argue for a while.
I recruit the front desk man at the Gellert to explain to the driver that I already paid for my return trip and this man does very little but tell me that since the hotel is not associated with the minibus company there is nothing he can do. I must state that the price of the extra ticket I had to purchase was roughly 7 dollars, but it's not the money, it's the principal.
So here's the deal: When you buy your ticket it comes with two sections on the left is a bigger portion and on the right is the stub that the driver is supposed to retain.
So make sure if you are buying a round trip "return" ticket,that the ticket has both these sections intact. Also don't just hand both tickets on the way to your hotel to the driver, make sure you give him the one that doesn't say return on it like I did by mistake.
Since he took both the stubs from my tickets at once I was left with an invalid ticket to get back to the airport. I tried explaining this to the people at the minibus company, but
all they said was that I could have given my ticket to someone else to get to the airport.
 
Jan 31st, 2001, 01:01 PM
  #2  
mark
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Jim-
I had almost the same exact experience with the minibus service and wound up paying the extra seven dollars. It angered me too. I'm going back to Budapest this May and will definitely remember to watch out for this scam.
On a lighter note - what did you think of Budapest?
 
Jan 31st, 2001, 02:42 PM
  #3  
Thyra
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Jim, I feel for you! My spouse and I were scammed out of more then $60.00 by taking taxi services in Budapest! (long story, first and so far ONLY time we've been badly scammed. Yep we were stupid) but just be thankful it was only 7 bucks!
 
Jan 31st, 2001, 05:03 PM
  #4  
s.fowler
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
First: there is no comparison between the minibus and the blood-sucking sharks that pass for taxi drivers in Budapest.

Second: the key phrase in your post is that you handed them your TICKETS. One ticket was for one way. The other for the return. Yes, it is unfortunate that the driver didn't catch that and I am sorry that they were not forgiving. [But you haven't experienced the "unforgiving" until you run into the wrong side of the metro ticket inspectors in Budapest.] What I am saying is that it was 50% your fault.

I have used to airport minbus service in Budapest now for 4 years and they have been on time and honest.
 
Feb 1st, 2001, 08:19 AM
  #5  
Jim
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Come to think of it, yes it must be a scam. You would think that when someone is staying at a "fine" hotel like the Gellert, the front desk person would have gone to bat for me. They only were too glad to sell me another ticket,not help me explain that I had already purchased one. The only thing this incident did for me was that I won't be going back to Budapest too soon, if ever again.
 
Feb 1st, 2001, 08:24 AM
  #6  
Jim
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I didn't even consider taking a cab.I had a three day Budapest card for public transport and that worked great. Was asked to show it three times,which was fine by me. I knew the troubles a cab ride could be. Besides when the weather is good, walking is great in Budapest, and I love trams as well.
 
Feb 1st, 2001, 10:36 AM
  #7  
Rosie
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Jim, other than the negative experience you had a t the very end, how were the 3 days in the city? Any "not to miss" spots?
 
Feb 1st, 2001, 11:00 AM
  #8  
s.fowler
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
My apologies if I missed some of the situation. What happened re: the Gellert *was* unfortunate. And you think in the name of customer satisfaction they would swallow the cost.

But that's the key. These are former communist countries where both taking responsibility for what happens and customer satisfaction are not familiar concepts. Under the old system it was never safe to take initiative. [And sometimes there are also linguistic snafus given the completely "orphan" nature of the Hungarian language. ] But it's NOT a "scam" as you put it. [I define a "scam" as an agreed on procedure to bilk people of their money.]

I've had some unpleasant experiences in Budapest, including one round with the "ticket-inspector-from-hell" [and her charming cohorts] in the metro and while I was very angry and felt "dirty" for a hour or so afterwards, I would *never* let those things keep me from one of the most fascinating cities in Europe.
 
Mar 7th, 2001, 02:37 PM
  #9  
Eric
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Dear S.Fowler,
My friends also had bad experience with the ticket controllers in the Budapest metro. I got so upset about it, that I wrote a letter--both e and snail mail to Nepszabadsag, one of the biggest Hungarian daily newspapers. I did get a response from the paper. They promised to follow up with an article,which they did. They also gave me the address of Budapest mass transit and suggested that I write them a letter. This is the place to complain to. Even if you write in English or German or French. I adore Budapest and Hungary. Wild horses will not keep me from going there. But this is my pet peeve and I myself have been caught. These controllers look for tourists. I usually see them in the center of town-the Blaha Luisza ter, Deak ter and Kossuth ter. You have to have a valid ticket and another one when you transfer that is stamped. They have no sense of humor.
Ilyen az elet---C'est la vive. We will still travel there.
 
Mar 23rd, 2001, 07:03 AM
  #10  
mark
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
topping for the group of 4 going to Budapest
 
Mar 26th, 2001, 05:41 AM
  #11  
Paige
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Can someone elaborate on the problems with the metro ticket inspectors? Thanks for topping this, as the group of 4 going soon is me, my husband and another couple. I thought we'd take the minibus to our hotel and take the metro around town. How can we avoid problems with the inspectors? Thanks!
 
Mar 26th, 2001, 05:56 AM
  #12  
Liz
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I am guessing that you must vlaidate your ticket before you enter the area where the metro trains leave. If you don't have a validated pass the "metro police" may approach you to check your out. We always validated ours and double checked to make sure we had validated our next pass prior to the current one expiring. You get used to it and it sure beats the hefty fine you will have to pay. I observed the "metro police" following people for blocks and waiting until the funds were obtained from a cash machine. I don't think they will let you go until the fine is paid.
I don't think it is a bad system. If you have a pass you are able to hop on and off easily and with the pass you don't have the lines you see in Italy or France, etc.
Sorry they were so harsh. I am sure they get their share of abusers and see us tourists as people who should surely pay to use their transport system.
 
Mar 26th, 2001, 06:05 AM
  #13  
s.fowler
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
The key is a validated ticket. You can have 30 tickets - it it isn't validated, say good bye to a large chunk of change. If you are there for 3 days or more it pays to get a pass. I always buy it the morning of my first full day there. BTW sometimes they do announce in Hungarian that the ticket inspectors are there. So it is aimed at us. Deak Ter is a "biggie" for that. So buy a pass or stick your ticket in the orange box as you go in.
 
Mar 26th, 2001, 08:32 AM
  #14  
eva
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Metro controllers ARE aiming tourists,not the young,strong boys in groups,but the middle aged and elderly ones.So by a pass,official name is one day ticket(NAPIJEGY) or 3 days ticket(3 NAPOS JEGY) weekly ticket is called HETIJEGY.Passes are sold only at the metro stations,cashiers are usually elderly women NOT speaking English, but the information and prices are written clearly in English.
A ticket which is not validated is not valid.I was fined in Germany because I could not find the validateing machine.
An unvalidated ticket can be used 5 times or 100 times.Look for the machine, ask the locals.
" important things.
1.Locals have monthly or yearly tickets,people above 65 travel free,so usually they do not validate tickets.
2. Budapest is the only town in Eurpoe-may be in the world-where changing the metro line you have to validate a new ticket.For metro- but not for tram or bus-there are transfer tickets, section tickets-valid for one line for 3 stops-
transfer section tickets-until 5 stops including one change,but I do not suggest using these kind of tickets.Passes and these special ticket are sold only at metro station cashiers, on weekends specail attendants are selling them.Ticket machines sell only one way tickets 100huf.They are operating with coins.I know it is a bit complicated.
P.S.
Social status of a ticket controller here is lower than a beggar's.
Eva
 
Mar 26th, 2001, 11:06 PM
  #15  
Paige
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thanks! Can you tell me how much a 3 day ticket costs? Is it good for all trams, buses, trains, etc? Can it be used to go to Aquincum?
 
Mar 27th, 2001, 11:27 AM
  #16  
Art
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Hi Paige, The 7 day pass cost me about $7.50, so the three day pass should be less. The only time that I had to pay anything on a bus was when I went to the Csajka Museum (where they put all of the soviet statues) about 20 km outside of Budapest (I'm not sure that I really had to.) Other than that I used it for buses, trolleys and the Metro.
 
Mar 27th, 2001, 10:09 PM
  #17  
Pat
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Good to read this useful info on the metro in Budapest as we may well be there in May. Years ago we had one of the worst travel experiences I've had in 35+ years of many foreign trips....a *nightmare* of an encounter with the subway Gestapo of Munich Germany. I never want to have anything like that happen again in my lifetime it was so brutal and shocking. When we go to Budapest (if we do) I will buy the pass mentioned here as it sounds safer for dealings with harsh, cruel subway undercover "cops".
 
Mar 27th, 2001, 10:31 PM
  #18  
Paige
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Pat, what happened that was brutal and shocking? I live in Munich and got caught once without my train pass. It was annoying and embarrassing but not that big of a deal. What happened to you?
 
Apr 25th, 2001, 05:12 PM
  #19  
David
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
can anyone tell me whether the 1 day or 3 day passes needs to be validated first in the orange machine. I am travelling to Budapest soon and really do not want to have trouble with the inspectors.
 
Apr 25th, 2001, 05:29 PM
  #20  
s.fowler
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Nope. Only the individual tickets need to be validated.
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:09 AM.