If you are moving to Budapest, Hungary, and don’t plan to buy a car, it will not be a problem. Same obviously goes for if you travel to Budapest, which is pretty easy to do from places like Vienna, Bratislava and Prague. The public transit system in Budapest is named the BKV.
Within any 400 meters of a populated area, there is some type of public transit station. The methods of transit include the buses, trolley buses, trams and underground trains. They run on regular schedule from 4:30 AM to 11:00 PM, so that’s great for most working hours. During the night shift, there are 15 bus lines and 2 tram lines that operate.
They do not sell tickets on board; you are required to purchase one before you board. You must validate your ticket once you board. If you get caught without a validated ticket, you will be fined. Children under 6 are free. You can purchase a single ticket, daily ticket, 3-day ticket (Budapest Card) or 7-day ticket. If you are moving there for an extended period of time, you can purchase a weekly, bi weekly or monthly pass, which requires a photo.
Buses, trolleys and trams generally show up every few minutes. Budapest gets really cold in the winter, so this is a good system to not keep you waiting. It is a color co-ordinated system. Trams are yellow colored, buses are blue colored, and trolley-buses are red colored. Night buses are also blue colored. When you ride the bus, before you get on, check if the number is black or red. When it is black, it is a local bus, and if it’s red, it’s an express bus. When you are riding a bus or trolly bus, you are required to press a button to indicate your stop. The other vehicles make every stop. Most stations will have a map that you can navigate.
If you are a commuter who prefers to live in the suburbs, there is also an extended train network system that reaches out to many of the surrounding areas. This system is called the HÉV. Click here for a map. They don’t use the honors system down here; you will always be checked for your ticket.
Below the ground in Budapest, there are three underground trains: The M1, the yellow line from Vörösmarty tér to Mexikói út; M2, the red line, from Déli train station to Örs vezér tere; and the M3, he blue line from Újpest-Központ to Kõbánya-Kispest. Make sure you know which way you are going, and familiarize yourself with the strange stop names, because if you get lost, they drop you off in some weird places in the outskirts. These trains are very Soviet feeling.
Also, when you are walking around in the streets of Budapest, you’ll often have to dip underground through the entrance of underground stations to cross to other sides of the streets. These stations are very interesting feeling, often with vendors and street musicians.
Click here for a Hungarian trip planner in Hungarian.