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Budapest

I have read some terrible comments about their taxi services an outlying problems is there a reputable taxi service that we can use there where we are not going to have problems I mean real scary problems from what I have read. My husband read all this info on Trip Advisor.

Posted by
653 posts

I like City Taxi, and I think James E. does, too.
I've used them several times (airport to hotels and reverse, Buda Castle to the eastern part of Pest, etc.)
However, their reviews aren't exactly encouraging. I stand by them - every experience has been perfect.
Also, public transit in Budapest is a genuine pleasure, in my opinion. With tram, trolley and metro lines, and the HÉV suburban railway at your disposal - all very inexpensive to use with an easy learning curve. Just ask someone in line.....my experiences have been that locals are very helpful.

Posted by
3283 posts

The public transportation is excellent, that's all we used, even from Keleti pu train station. If you want to take taxis, I had heard that its best to work thru your hotel.

Posted by
1955 posts

We will be in Budapest soon and have planned to use CITY TAXI per James E & other recommendations. +36 1 2 111 111. We are in need of a quick ride to meet our Apartment Manager.

We find 8,000 HUF with tip is fine. Other than this we will use the excellent public transportation during our stay.

Posted by
10821 posts

If you dont know how to determine the value of 8.000 HUF, then you are not prepared for your trip.

As for the taxi service ....

17 years ago we grabbed our excessive luggage off the train and headed for the front entrance of the station. Upon walking outside it was a beautiful, cool, sunny afternoon and... wait!; a short, stocky, mustached, stereotypical communist looking gentleman was grabbing at the luggage! Crap!,” Before I could react, and to my astonishment, a taxi drives up over the curb and onto the side walk. The driver, a kid in his early 20’s, gets out and runs to our rescue. He and the angry commie begin arguing, arms waving as they get up in each other’s faces. Then as abruptly as it had begun it ended. Hell, it was two cabbies fighting over a fare; us! I chose the kid because I thought that if needed I could win a fight with him.

The kid knew maybe six words in English, but after some of efforts he stopped insisting, “no tuuuuuur guide”, and he understood that we just wanted to be driven around town. Once he understood this was on the taxi meter he was happy to oblige. This was probably the first opportunity he ever had to run up a fare with the permission of the customer.

For nearly an hour he drove through amazing neighborhoods, down great avenues and along the banks of the Danube. My face was plastered to the taxi window as we gawked and expressed amazement at how beautiful this city was. Old and dark and in need of a lot of love, but stunningly beautiful at the same time. I quickly realized that I had found what was lacking in Vienna.
https://www.justin-klein.com/blogmedia/post-images/2010/10_05_29-andrassy-ut-2.jpg

Then we crossed the Chain Bridge, drove through a great tunnel, and began climbing higher and higher as it got darker and darker. I suggested maybe we should head for the hotel, but the driver either didn’t understand or didn’t want to understand. Darker, higher, more remote. Now pitch dark and I knew the outcome. We were being hijacked for a mugging and robbery. Of course, we were behind the Iron Curtain and these were commies; what should I have expected?
https://stmed.net/sites/default/files/chain-bridge-wallpapers-28495-6034126.jpg

As predicted he pulled to the side along a deserted stretch of road and ordered me out of the car. I did as directed. Then he demanded I turn with my back to the car. I was beginning to judge distances, watching his hand movements for a weapon and sizing up the options to fight back or flee. Now before I can explain what came next you have to know where we were: this was the outlook over the city from Gellert Hill near the Citadella.

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/a4/66/a7/a466a7dfcd15c64d66dbeb7cf1208eab.jpg (updated link)

My mouth fell open. I stared like in a trance and all the events and worries of the last 15 minutes melted away. I knew my only mistake was not planning enough time for Budapest. Looking straight ahead, stunned by the vista, I knew I was coming back.

Posted by
10821 posts

More Recently

My taxi was involved in a minor accident. First, and immediately, the driver called for another taxi for me. I paid the fare on the first taxi and the second taxi was there in minutes and I was back home in no time at all. I looked at the meter and handed the driver the sum shown. The driver returned a portion and explained that ever ride begins with a set fee and since i paid that set fee with the first taxi, it would not be fair to charge it twice.

I called City Taxi one morning for the flight to the airport. I know to call the night before, I just forgot. Bad news. The dispatcher said all the cabs were tied up and it would be 30 minutes or more before he could get one to me. I must have sounded disapointed, said goodbye and started googling other cab numbers. My phone rang, it was City Taxi. The dispatcher said that a taxi was pulling up in front of my apartment as we were speaking. He was right, one was parking. But it wasnt City Taxi it was another company. The City Taxi dispatcher had called another company for me.

I walked to Buda to do some shopping. I had a dentist appointment later in the day. When time got close I called City Taxi to get a ride to the dentist. The dispatcher asked where I was. I couldnt pronounce the name of the street. I couldnt spell it in a way he could understand. I got frustrated and told him i would find someone who spoke Hungarian and call back. He insisted that we keep trying. He had me describing landmarks. Finally he figured out where i was and sent a taxi for me.

The rates and the quality of the cars is fixed by the goverment. I have never been gouged, cheated or threatened.

OH, forgot the time I left my laptop in the taxi at the airport. Also in the laptop bag was 3000 euro in cash. Both came back to me as soon as the driver discovered I had left it behind.

Posted by
2092 posts

https://coinmill.com/HUF_USD.html I print this little table right before I leave for any country with a currency that is not easy, like pounds or euros--not so much for things like food or site entries but if you're going shopping and wonder if something is more like $20 US...or $200.

I've made 5 solo trips to Budapest and always used Fo Taxi from the airport--they are the official airport taxi--and City Taxi when returning--never once had a problem, always very courteous and helpful, always on time and never took advantage by driving out of the way.

Posted by
10821 posts

christa, thats great. I always create my own, but your link is a lot easier. thanks

FoTaxi from the airport. Another wonderful thing about Budapest.

Pick up your luggage
Follow the black line on the floor that says "TAXI"
It takes you outside and to a kiosk where you tell the attendant where you want to go.
The attendant gives you a slip of paper with the destination, taxi number and the most you can be charged for the trip printed on it.
You take the slip to the curb where another employee will check the number and make sure you get in the right taxi
The taxi drive will load your luggage
You are off and in 30 to 40 minutes in the center of Budapest for about 8.000 HUF (Hungarian Forints) including a tip.

Posted by
3283 posts

I could be wrong, which often happens, but I sense some nervousness about travel to Budapest by the OP. I was just going to mention that I did get a STEP "alert" this morning from the U.S. State Dept. (not sure why I got it) but Hungary is now at a step 1, which is the lowest level (exercise normal precautions), and lower than many other countries in Europe (like France and Germany at level 2) Hungary had been at a 2. I think its somewhat common for first time travelers to former eastern block countries to be a bit nervous, and I hope this might allow travelers to this great country to feel more at ease.

Also, there are apps that will compute a currency conversion. I usually come up with some convention to get a rough idea without using the app (For the forint, move decimal to the left two places and divide by 3), but they are available. Mine is "Currency" from the app store.

EDITED TO ADD: didn't note OP is Canadian. Some people might get fancier, but in my head, I would still move the decimal point to the left two places, and for the Canadian dollar divide 2.5, note this is meant to be a rough mental estimate.

Posted by
1955 posts

Thanks James E & Christa! I will use FoTaxi upon arrival and City Taxi departure to Keleti Train Station.

The Forint conversion chart is very helpful. I have one printed for Koruna's in Czechia. ;) All set!

Posted by
107 posts

Interesting post! I was just going to post a question about how to get a taxi to our hotel upon arrival at Budapest Keleti from Vienna. Do we call the cab company when we arrive at the train station or do we reserve in advance? From what I've read I gather that we shouldn't just hail a cab at the station. Thanks.

Posted by
10821 posts

Call one is always better. Taxi lane is out the doors on the right as you face the front of the station. Keleti is also served by the metro if you haven't got too much luggage.

Posted by
107 posts

Would we just look up the number for City Taxi on arrival or maybe have the hotel arrange one to meet us on arrival at Keleti? Seems easier to just jump into a cab at the taxi lane but they are all rip-offs? We're not too good with luggage on public transport.

Posted by
10821 posts

Their number is here https://www.citytaxi.hu

You can walk out to the taxi lane and look for a taxi. Technically and legally it should cost the same. There are a number of good taxi services in town But I would stick to City or FoTaxi. Only because I have a track record with them. I don't worry about Ripoffs. In literally a hundred rides I font think I have ever been over charged. But all things are possible. If you are worried, calling for a taxi locks you into the system making it hard to impossible for the driver to bend any rules.

Posted by
10821 posts

Oh, the hotel car will be a private transfer and that will cost more. The hotel gets a commission from the driver. And you will pay for wait time.

Just relax, when the train pulls in, make the phone call. Be relaxed, kind, polite and 99% of the time it is returned 2 fold. Enjoy the trip.

When is your trip?

Posted by
1955 posts

Just a follow up on James' Airport taxi description. We arrived today, & followed the directions. What a great system! The only "minor caveat" was that their credit card system was down. No problem, we had Euros or HUF. The driver was great. Thanks James!

Posted by
107 posts

We leave for Prague on Sept 15 and do Prague and Cesky-Krumlov and then a couple nights in Vienna (repeat visit) and arrive in Budapest on Sept. 26. Can't wait. But I feel like I'm spending as much time on research as I will be vacationing!!! If we're unlikely to be fleeced by a cabbie it would be so much easier to hop in a cab at the curb and not worry about it. Maybe some of the precautions I've heard have been overstated.

Posted by
10821 posts

This subject, sort of like the exchange rate thread is getting way over thought. If you never read it and had just the tiniest bit of common sense you would have a great, RIP off free, trip.

Once you get your luggage to the hotel, Budapest has such a good (and fun) transit system, it's the last time you are likely to need a taxi. If you want to do some more research study the tram system before you go.