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Budapest - Vienna bus service disruptions?

Hi

A few of us are travelling to Budapest at the end of this month. We plan to go to Vienna on the 29th or 30th of September. We are thinking of pre-booking Eurolines bus tickets, given the fluidity of the situation with Budapest-Vienna trains.

Is this a good idea? How badly have the bus services been affected? I realize that the situation may be quite different in two weeks' time, but having an idea of what is happening now will be very helpful.

Thanks in advance!

Posted by
10833 posts

Emily, is the train running again?

Naaaaaaaaa too risky for my nerves. I would hire a Hungarian car to come get me. If there is a group of 3 or more it won't cost much per person.

EDIT
Just checked. Austrians still refusing to send trains to Budapest and Germany still refusing to send trains to Austria.

Posted by
8889 posts

German-Austrian cross-border trains are back and operating again, Austria-Hungary is still suspended. Details are here: http://fahrplan.oebb.at/bin/help.exe/dn?tpl=showmap_external (in German)
The interruption on the German-Austrian border was just on Sunday. Not running trains on a Monday would have meant a lot of people not being able to get to work.
Germany has re-introduced border checks on the German-Austrian border, and Austria on the Hungarian border. This could mean long queues at the border. In the 20 years since border checks were abolished cross border traffic (road and rail) has increased dramatically.
If there are delays, they are likely to effect road more than rail; Buses are just as likley to get overwhelmed by the numbers wanting to travel as trains. If the trains are running, they are still the best way.

Posted by
4078 posts

It changes every day. By the 29th, who knows. I'd bet on the train.

Posted by
10833 posts

Emily, ibre aspect your opinion. But after spending thousands crossing the Atlantic I wouldn't bet on anything I couldn't control. Hence the driver.

Posted by
10833 posts

Emily, ibre aspect your opinion. But after spending thousands crossing the Atlantic I wouldn't bet on anything I couldn't control. Hence the driver.

Posted by
5 posts

Emily, James and Chris

Thank you so much for the replies. If I understand correctly, trains are the best option if running and there are likely to be delays due to border control checking, which we should account for.

We are doing Budapest-Vienna-Prague, and our return flight is out of Prague. So that's why we are so apprehensive about the situation on the ground, and don't really want to leave anything up for chance, like James said. I guess if push really comes to shove we could skip Vienna altogether and just go on to Prague, but that would be really disappointing. Hopefully things will ease up by the end of the month, and I will feel like a fool for worrying so much :)

James, would you have a ballpark estimate as to how much a driver would cost from Budapest to Vienna/ the Austrian border? I think we might get one closer to the day, depending on the situation.

Thanks once again. You guys have been quite helpful!

Posted by
42 posts

We are to leave Budapest tomorrow to Vienna. We bought train tickets originally, but as trains aren't running and the news doesn't have any information on agreements being worked out, we booked bus tickets Sunday since there weren't many bus tickets still available for a Wednesday departure. Buses appear to be carrying on.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks for the information Kathryn and worldinbetween! Yes, it is always better to know all possible options.

Kathryn, would you mind letting me know how your bus journey on Wednesday goes? It will help me make a decision between (the more expensive) car option, as suggested by James, or buying the bus tickets as a backup before they get sold out (thanks for the tip, worldinbetween!). I will really appreciate it!

Posted by
10833 posts

The bus service to Vienna is fine except for the couple of days the highway in Austria was closed last week. My point is that the only truth is the truth you find when you get there.

For me personally, based on my tastes and thresholds, I would stay at least one extra day in Budapest as most folks say they wised they had spent more time on departure day, and then fly on Czech Airlines from Budapest to Prague and then spend what ever extra days you have on places like Cesky Krumlov or one of a half dozen other great overnight and day trips out of Prague.

A confession: I am not a big Vienna fan. And because Vienna has such good connections it's easy to pair with a lot of other places on a future trip.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks for the advice James! We'll see how it goes once we land in Budapest. I guess now we'll just book bus tickets as a backup (and take a good look at their cancellation policy). Depending on the situation closer to the time, we'll wing it, either to Vienna or Prague!

Posted by
10833 posts

n.rao, I wouldn't worry too much. I just don't want to mislead anyone by pretending all is normal. You need to be a little flexible and keep a few option open. Write down the links to the drivers I posted, but with just a tiny bit of luck you won't need them.

I am in Belgrade today. I have enjoyed Belgrade more than any of my trips to Vienna. Best of all, Air Serbia to Budapest was under 100 euro. A great option if you are visiting Budapest. The bay of Kotor in Montenegro is only another 45 minute flight from Belgrade and also about 100 euro. Also a spectacular destination. So there are all sorts of options.

Posted by
42 posts

Hi n.rao. I'm sorry I missed your question. The bus from Budapest to Vienna was fine. We left about five minutes late, but that's no biggie. The driver said the interstate equivalent was backed up, but since it was a direct from Budapest to VIenna with no stops in between, the bus was simply routed on what I would consider the "back-roads" or county roads. We crossed the border between two towns and the only way we even noticed we were crossing was the quality of pavement changed, which made my husband pull out his GPS and determine where we were. The bus arrived on time and was a comfortable ride.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks James and Kathryn. I do believe things have settled down now, and your responses are particularly reassuring.

I guess we just need to enjoy the trip now :)

Thanks again!

Posted by
4 posts

We just returned from a trip to Vienna and Budapest. We had pre-booked train tickets for Saturday Sept 19th. Since train service from Vienna to Budapest had been suspended the week prior to Sept 19th (and only resumed on Friday Sept 18th) we purchased bus tickets during the week as a back-up. We decided to take the bus on Saturday and it was just fine. It took 3 hours versus the 2 1/2 hour train trip, no stops at the border. Very easy and comfortable and as an added plus we had a great conversation with a Viennese young man sitting next to us getting to know what about life in Europe. He even helped us maneuver the metro from the bus station to get into downtown. Great experience.