About Budapest - Article, 26 April

Public transport of Budapest

What are my possibilities if I want to get somewhere in Budapest?

Altough Budapest, as a capital, is naturally populated, transportation is not problematic since the public transportation in Budapest is well constructed.

The BKK (Budapesti Közlekedési Központ) provides public transportation in Budapest. Since in the capital there is no other company on the field of transportation, BKK could plan and construct a thorough public transportation system which extends to the whole city. This system includes the city center and even the agglomeration.

Vehicles in the city center

Subway

The foot-stone of transportation in Budapest is the subway. There are four lines in the city which all have their respective colors and numbers. Line 1 is yellow and it is the oldest subway line on the mainland of Europe. It is called the “small underground” (kisföldalatti) in Hungarian. It goes from the city center touching Deák Ferenc tér to Mexikói út following the long spectacular Andrássy út. Traveling with the “small underground” is not just a simple trip but also a time-travel back to the turn of the 20th century.

The second line which is marked by the color red on maps runs across Budapest in an east to west direction. It has such important stops as Astoria, Deák Ferenc tér and Kossuth Lajos tér. The stops were modernized a little after 2000. Starting from 2012 the trains are air conditioned. All trains are equipped with visual and voice announcement, this is true for all other lines also.

The third line is blue and runs from north to south on the east side of the Danube, called Pest. This is the longest subway line in Budapest and also carries the most traffic. Its stops include Ferenc körút, Deák Ferenc tér, Arany János utca and Nyugati Railway Station. It is under reconstruction at the moment therefor replacement buses run instead of the subway at night and at weekends. This does not cause problems since buses run frequently and at a separate bus lane to evade traffic jams. Other lines in the surrounding area also got more frequent to take some of the burden of the replacement buses.

The newest line, the fourth, was finished in 2014 and got the color green. It connects the agreeable Buda side (Szent Gellért tér, Móricz Zsigmond körút) with the city center (Fővám tér, Blaha Lujza tér). The stops are more than beautifully designed and make us forget that we travel underground.

Trams

Trams are necessary tools in the everyday transportation in Budapest both in reaching our home and in getting on only for a few stops. They are, when not covered with imaginative ads, are bright yellow. They make those spots of the city, where subway cannot reach, available. Trams are track based therefor they can transport passengers without getting stuck in traffic. Let’s see which tram lines are useful when getting around in the city center of Budapest.

It is more then likely that lines 4 and 6, which share most of their route will be of use for you. Long air-conditioned trams run on this line. They are ideal for short distance traveling in the city center because they have a lot of standing space. The line touches Nyugati Railway Station, Oktogon and Blaha Lujza tér connecting main junctions in the city. Unlike other tram lines, lines 4 and 6 run nonstop.

Another important tram line is line 2 which runs on the riverside at Pest. This line was chosen by National Geographic in the top 10 most beautiful tram lines. You can see the Danube, the historical city center, the Parliament and parks and trees when traveling on this line.

Buses and trolley-buses

Subway and tram line are both track based consequently they have their limitations. This shortcoming is complemented by buses and trolley-buses. The latter is an electric powered bus which gets electricity like a tram, through a trolley. The first trolley at Budapest run in 1933.

The bus system of the city center is complicated. There are bus stops in nearly every street. It is more than likely that you will use buses number 7, 105 and the trolley numbered 73.

Transportation at night

Transportation in Budapest at night naturally differs from transportation at day since there are no traffic jams and people tend to travel in different directions. The solution of BKK to this situation (beside tram lines 4 and 6 running nonstop) are night buses. Night buses all have a number starting with 9. The planning of the system included all parts of the city and also changing lines. From this map you can see that subway line 3 is replaced by bus 950 and 914 at night. Number 979 could also help.

Passes are valid on night buses also and tickets can be bought from the driver.

Tickets and passes

There is only one kind of ticket in Budapest which can be used for every line. When traveling a lot, it is cheaper to buy a pass. There are monthly or even yearly passes available. Inside the city even trains can be used with passes.

Tickets and passes can be bought at the cashiers at the stations or from ticket machines where you can pay by card also.

Never play the way for penalty fees are high.

Other possibilies beside public transportation

Going by car is not a bad idea when you want to get somewhere in Budapest. The road network of the city is well developed. Using a GPS it is not difficult to come over those few obstacles driving means in Budapest (one-way streets, lack of parking places on the side of the streets). There are many parking lots and Hungarian drives tend to keep the rules and not go through red traffic lights. When traveling by car you are not bound to the timetables of trams and buses and can get to your destination quicker.

For sports lovers another possibility is going by bicycle. There are many bicycle paths in the city, for example on Andrássy út. Cycling to work keeps you fit and gets you to the exact number on the street without having to walk from the nearest bus stop. Parking is also a lot easier that with a car, but be careful of thieves and always lock your bicycle.

Bicycle lovers are also advised to try MOL Bubi. These bicycles wait for you at different docking spaces in the city to pick them up, cycle to your destination and put them back in another docking station. It is a perfect alternative option in the city center.

Another service BKK offers for transportation in Budapest is boat services. Tickets and passes are valid for boats on weekdays. Do not miss the chance to try boats on Danube in good wheather for the sights definitely worth the extra time the trip takes.

It is not impossible to walk in the city, many people do. You can discover shops, sights, streets you would have never seen from the window of the buses and trams. You can wander into a shop if you would like without thinking about when the next bus will arrive.

Get moving at Budapest

Transportation in Budapest is great. Find the ideal solution for your lifestyle, let it be the subway where you can read a book while traveling, the tram where you can enjoy the sights of the city or cycling and keeping fit while getting to your destination. Each way is good, Budapest accepts your way of living.