'New Era' in Hungary’s Public Transport System Gets Started

  • 1 Mar 2024 8:16 AM
  • Hungary Matters
'New Era' in Hungary’s Public Transport System Gets Started
March 1 will be the start of a new era in Hungary’s transport system, with the introduction of new transport fees, representing the “greatest utility fee cut ever”, the minister of construction and transport said.

János Lázár told a press conference that the new system of transport fees were to make the lives of over 4 million people simpler and better.

The introduction of the new system of fees represents the greatest revamp of the MÁV-Volán group in the past 35 years, he said. There are some 4.5 million commuters, and “starting from March 1, everybody can reach their destination at lower fees, in a simpler and fairer system”, he added.

Since the introduction of county and country passes, more than 5.25 million such passes have been sold, with 9 out of every 10 passes sold being county and country passes, he said.

He also said that the new passes had not resulted in lower revenues, with both MÁV and Volán closing record-breaking years in 2023.

With MÁV registering 130 million journeys in 2022 and 180 million in 2023, and Volán 530 million journeys in 2022 and 570 million in 2023, revenues grew from 122 billion (EUR 310m) in 2022 to 128 billion in 2023, he added.

The number of journeys increased as a result of the introduction of cheaper county and country passes, while a jump in the sale of cheaper tickets resulted in higher revenues on the whole, he said.

Lázár said that 700,000 children aged 6-14 would be able to travel for free and 1 million young people aged 14-25 would travel at half price. Free travel will remain to be in force for people aged above 65, which will also apply to an additional 300,000 people under 65 who are eligible for pension-type services, he added.

Fully 200,000 families with three or more children, or a total of 1 million people, will be eligible for free long-distance travel from March 1.

Gergely Karácsony, the city’s mayor, said the agreement would benefit those living both in the capital and its agglomeration. He told a press conference that though he had been critical of several of the government’s recent policies concerning Budapest, the agreement on the reciprocal use of city and nationwide passes would define a transport policy and integrated public transport that would be in Hungary’s interest for decades.

He thanked the government for its “partner-like approach” and the transport companies involved for their cooperation. Karácsony noted that the agreement will introduce a more passenger-friendly pass system from March 1.

He noted that under the agreement, income from the Budapest, Pest County and nationwide passes and fare supplements will be divided in proportion to how the services are provided. “What this means percentage-wise will have to be calculated by the sides by the end of March, taking 2023 as the base year,” Karacsony added.

He said another reason why the deal would benefit Budapest was that it was set to put an end to “an era of political bargaining” on how much is allocated to public transport in the state budget.

Meanwhile, Karácsony said reducing traffic on Budapest’s roads was critical to the city and the country’s “green future”. It was therefore in the city’s fundamental interest, he argued, to offer a cheaper and simpler public transport system to those commuting between the capital and its agglomeration.


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Deal Done: Public Transport Passes to Remain Valid Throughout Budapest and Agglomeration

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Launched in January 2014, this newsletter published on week days covers 'everything you need to know about what’s going on in Hungary and beyond', according to its publisher the state media agency MTI.

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