Transportation

Public transportation

The Budapest mass transit authority is called: BKV. The city has an extensive bus, metro, tram and trolley system. Most lines run from 4:30 am until 23:30 pm. There are several night-time bus lines running after midnight.

You have to pay to use the public transit system, but as a student you are eligible for certain discounts that you may have access to by having the appropriate student card.  You may purchase tickets and passes at the ticket vendors located at metro stations and ticket automats located at most bus and tram stops. In case you are traveling without a ticket/pass, or with an invalid ticket/pass you will be fined!

You will be able to purchase tickets and passes at our office.

As a full time student you are eligible to purchase the discounted student pass, if you have a Hungarian Student Card issued by your university, or International Student card, or a student card from an EU member state.

It’s important to know that all tickets – with the exemption of transfer tickets – are only valid for a single trip. Therefore if you transfer to another line you will need to purchase another ticket; the tickets must be validated immediately after getting on the vehicle (before in case of entering the metro) by using any of the machines located on the vehicles.

You may also purchase a ticket when getting on a vehicle from the driver (with the exception of HÉV and metro), but remember that these tickets are always more expensive and drivers cannot give you back change.

Our special public transportation lines are the Budavár funicular railway, the Rack-Railway, the Chair-Lifr, and the Children’s Railway. You may use the Rack-Railway with the regular BKV tickets and passes, but you must purchase separate tickets for the other above mentioned rides and it’s worth it! You’ll have a fun and scenic ride with a great view to the nicest sights of the city.

Hungarian ticket controllers seldom speak foreign languages. In case of a misunderstanding or any dispute (in case they only speak Hungarian) try to look for a young, friendly face in the crowd. Fellow Hungarian students will likely help you out as they tend to speak at least one foreign language, most commonly English, also German, French and Russian.

When dealing with ticket controllers never hand out cash without getting a receipt or other official document in return.

For further information on fares and rules you can visit the BKK website.

Taxi

Budapest taxis are mrked by their yellow color and by the TAXI sign placed on the top of the cars.

When the TAXI sign is illuminated the taxi is available to be waived down. Waiving down a cab on the street is always more expensive than making a reservation via phone. It’s best to keep the number of a few taxi companies saved in your phone. The expected level of tip is 10-15%.

When getting in the taxi make sure the driver turns on the taximeter! The fare consists of a fixed rate and a kilometer based rate, but cabs may charge you extra for waiting time.

Coming Soon! Our exclusive Budapest Student Card will allow you to travel with our partnering taxi services for a discounted price.

Bicycle

Although cycling is becoming a more common form of transportation, the bicycle culture and related infrastructure has not yet reached the level of Europe’s great bicycle-cities.

Don’t be surprised if all of a sudden you run out of bicycle road. Before setting off for your trip get some information on the bicycle routs by planning your trip on Google Maps.

Bicycle storage is not yet comprehensively available in the city. There are only sporadic covered storage areas with a meager capacity. We recommend that you purchase good quality locks as soon as possible and not leave your bike on the open street for extended periods of time.

The city currently does not have a public bike rental system. It’s implementation is in process however, it may well happen during your stay here.

This upcoming improvement is being most prominently advocated by the internationally renowned biker movement and rally: Critical Mass and it’s rally’s  in Budapest.

You can find the location of Hungarian bike shops and repair services on this page.

Driving in Hungary

Hungarian traffic moves on the right side and bearing right is mandatory on multi-lane roads.

If another car flashes it’s lights at you it may mean either of these things:

  • It wants to let you go ahead (expl: at a road crossing)
  • It wants to call your attention to something, (for example your lights are off…etc)

Hungary has a zero tolerance on alcohol consumption while driving policy. Therefore if you are driving there is no acceptable minimum limit of alcohol you can consume.

The following speed limits apply to cars and motorcycles:

Highway: 130 km/h
Semi-Motorway: 110 km/h
Roads outside of city limits: 90 km/h
City limits: 50 km/h

Parking

You must pay a parking fee if you park at the designated parking areas. The fee differs at the different locations. Budapest’s central business districts are the most expensive. Parking fees apply between Monday and Friday from 8 am to 6 pm (or 8pm in the inner city).

You should always purchase a parking ticket, inspections are regular and the penalties are high.

You can also pay the parking fee via smartphone, or iPhone apps, so you won’t have to worry about having enough coins on you.

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