Budapest's public transportation systems are operated by the company BKV. The service includes buses, trolleybuses, trams, underground trains (Metro) and above-ground suburban trains (HÉV). Buses, trams and trolleybuses run daily from 4.30 a.m. until 11.0 p.m. The three Metro lines interconnect at Deák tér Station, and service frequencies range from 15 minutes late in the evening to every two minutes at peak times. The HÉV runs to and from Csepel Island and Ráckeve in the south, Szentendre in the north, and Gödöllő in the east.
Tickets or passes must be bought before boarding; you cannot buy them from the driver (except on the night bus network). They are available at Metro stations, tobacconists and newsagents, and from vending machines at many bus and tram stops in the city centre. The single tickets are valid for one single journey of any length (without changing) on all routes (including the Cogwheel Railway, but excluding those parts of the HÉV that lie outside the metropolitan boundary of Budapest). Special tickets can be purchased that allow a change of route, and that cover the HÉV outside Budapest. There is also a range of pre-paid books of tickets and value-for-money passes on sale.
When using single tickets, a new ticket has to be validated at the beginning of each journey, and this is done by inserting it into the slot in the small red or orange box situated at waist height near the doors of buses, trolleybuses, trams and HÉV trains. Please note that on the Underground system these boxes are in the stations at the top of the escalator. There are many ticket inspectors: some of them are uniformed and others plain-clothed, but they always wear a red/blue armband and carry a photographic identification badge. They can ask to see tickets and passes on any vehicle and anywhere on the Metro system, including after you have got off - so please remember to validate your ticket and keep hold of it!
Maps sited at the entrances to metro stations give a comprehensive overview of the entire public transport network in Budapest. Conditions of travel are also included, in German and English.
Hungarian citizens (including those who have repatriated to Hungary and persons holding dual nationality) as well as citizens of other member states of the European Union over the age of 65 years can travel free of charge on BKV Budapest public transport services (except for the funicular, the chair-lift and boat trips) when they present to inspectors a personal identity card or document certifying their citizenship.
Ticket types and prices for the year 2012
Night bus service
Budapest's excellent night bus system has just been upgraded to 37 lines! Please note that to make sure that everyone has a ticket, the transport company (BKV) has hired uniformed security guards who check for tickets in the bus stops. It's no problem if you don't have a ticket, since the security staff has them on sale all night - just pay and ride.