Unit 5

Cultural Point

As mentioned in the previous unit public transportation is very good in Hungary and Budapest. There is one thing however everybody needs to keep in mind when using public transportation; there are lots of ticket inspectors . They can check your ticket or pass anywhere on the public transportation area, thus keep your ticket or pass with you at all times. You need to buy your tickets before you get on a bus, tram or enter the metro area (There are special places for that at every metro stop). If you do not have a ticket or pass when using public transportation and a ticket inspector catches you, you will be fined. It is better to avoid this since ticket inspectors are usually merciless. If you do not have a ticket by mistake (you did not know you need a new one when you transfer e.g.) it does not make a difference most of the time. Being a ticket inspector is probably the most unpopular job. Hungarians when caught without a ticket usually try to persuade the inspector to let them go but it mostly never works. I have seen instances when the person just broke away from the inspector amid mutual namecalling and there have been one instance when a ticket inspector bit a passanger when xx wanted to escape from her (the inspector was immediatly discharged). A couple years ago a Hungarian rap group released a song that expresses/immemorialized the negative feelings some people have about ticket inspectors. (Listening to it?)

If one is caught without a ticket the best option if you live in Hungary is to ask for a „reporting fine”, that is a very small amount to pay at a central office and with the obligation to go there and show your monthly pass. If you do not reside in Hungary you need to pay a fine on the scene, which is xxx HUF.

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Tickets, passes: There is a vareity of tickets and passes for the public transportation system in Budapest. You can buy a ticket ( HUF) which is valid for one ride (for the entire route of the bus, tram or metro). You need to validate your ticket when you get on the bus or tram, or as you enter the metro area. Whenever you transfer you need to validate a new ticket. There are special tickets, like a transfer ticket, which is valid for a ride and one transfer. You can also get a ticket which is only valid for a few stops. However, if you plan on using public transportation a lot the best is to buy a pass which enables you to use any public transportation. There is a monthly pass, biweekly pass and a weekly pass. For the monthly and biweekly pass you need to provide a photo and they will make you a pass. You only need to have this made once and then you just replace the monthly tocket inside.

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