Please sign in to post.

How to Get a TravelCard, Budapest Pass or Budapest Card

I have gotten a few PM's so:

Getting a travel card is easy. You can do with the BudapestGo app or if you are like me and don’t want to mess with a phone during the day a paper copy is the way to go.

If you are arriving by plane, then in the arrivals hall, look to your left and you will see the BKK office. I think it has a purple banner above.

If you are coming by train to Keleti Station (most arrivals terminate there) then go to the original arrivals hall constructed in the 1880’s (where platforms 6, 7, 8 and 9 are located) walk to the front and you will see some stairs going down https://www.seat61.com/images/budapest-keleti-steps.jpg Walk down the stairs, and at the bottom on the right is the BKK office where you can purchase a pass https://c8.alamy.com/comp/2AB0K8E/information-and-tickets-ticket-office-of-bkk-budapest-kozlekedesi-kozpont-budapest-public-transport-centre-keleti-palyaudvar-budapest-hungary-2AB0K8E.jpg

There are also machines outside where you can purchase the passes, but it’s a lot easier to get the help in the service center.

Buying a card in town. If for some reason you don’t want to purchase the TravelCard at Keleti or the Airport, again there are machines at most metro locations and some of the tram stops, or there is a BKK service center in the Deak Fernec ter metro station.

Deak Ferenc ter is sort of Ground Zero for all of the sites of Budapest so you will be near it a lot during your stay.

It’s a big underground so to make finding the service center easier, set your google maps for Deák Ferenc tér 6, Budapest, 1061 Hungary. No way you can miss it: https://c8.alamy.com/comp/2M5P8D1/budapest-hungary-front-view-of-beautiful-old-building-of-anker-palace-in-the-city-center-2M5P8D1.jpg
At that location you will see stairs down and the service center is on the right at the bottom of the stairs. The MILLENNIUM UNDERGROUND MUSEUM is located in the back of the service center and is sort of interesting.

Posted by
18832 posts

There is a TravelCard which is a public transportation only card. It is fairly cheap and goes up to hourly limits
Then to confuse matters they switch names to Budapest Pass for the 15 day and longer cards.
There is a Budapest Card which is tourist card for public transportation and discounts on lots of other things. Its a bit expensive.

This page explains all the shorter term cards
https://bkk.hu/en/tickets-and-passes/prices/travelcards-valid-for-one-or-more-days/

But to further complicate things the 15 day pass is explained here
https://bkk.hu/en/tickets-and-passes/prices/monthly-passes/

Prices
Buy a TravelCard or Budapest Pass and seeing Budapest will be fun and easy.

24 hour 2,500 forints ($7)
72 hour 5,500 forints ($16)
15 day 6,500 forints ($19)
Month 9,500 ($27)

Posted by
18832 posts

Rules of Use for the TravelCard
See public transportation .... get on public transportation. Its really that easy.

Ocassionally there will be inspectors checking passes at the metro stations. Sometimes at the entrance and sometimes at the exit.

Ocassionally on the Trams will be inspectors checking passes. Some "older" gentlemen will stand up and put on an arm band and start asking to see tickets and passes.

The fine is pretty high, so do carry your TravelCard.

Do take a little time to discover what is on the route of the

M1 metro
2 Tram
4/6 Tram
47/49 Tram
19/41 Tram

Posted by
18832 posts

It sounds like a lot. But it's simple. See a Tram, get on. Go a few stops, get off, go back a few stops and get off where you started ... and now you are a Tram expert.

We've all seen the NYC metro stations and exploding and crashing subway trains in movies. Now think of the exact opposite and you've got the Budapest Metro. Get on, ride 4 stops, get off, go up to the street and explore.
Its all good. The M1 looks like an airport train that connects terminals but plays Mario Brithers game music when it stops.

Posted by
4945 posts

Thanks! I didn't know there was a BKK office at the airport. I was going to buy the ticket for the 100E bus at the airport and wait to get a transit pass in the city, but buying a pass at the airport takes care of both.

I've added "buy 15 day Transit Pass" to my airport arrival tasks. Along with getting cash.

Posted by
195 posts

Identification is required for the passes, so don't be alarmed when you have to turn over your passport.

Posted by
18832 posts

Good catch. Only on the 15 day and longer. A US drivers license is fine. Which ever you are willing to have on you when you are wandering around town.

Posted by
4351 posts

Ok, I wasn’t going to sidetrack this with the BudapestGo app - till Christy posted (oops), but I have done all my purchases through the app and didn’t provide more than my billing and address/contact info. Maybe in-person they use the passport for that. I love information. ❤️

Also adding the Millenium Underground Museum to my long list.

Posted by
4945 posts

Texas Travelmom, did you ever get stopped for a transit check? Did they ask you to show ID then? Or do I recall that you were using single tickets that wouldn't require ID?

I plan to buy a pass for simplicity. But getting my passport out of a money belt wouldn't be simple, so good to know I can use my DL. Or maybe I'd use my passport card - it's got to make itself useful somehow!!

Posted by
4351 posts

CW, you know I always use the app. And yes, I have been stopped a number of times for a quick glance at the dancing figure on my phone. Ha! Never asked for ID. My experience is very limited but I haven’t seen anyone asked for ID yet. I remember arriving last Oct., heading to Hero’s Square off the M1 my first full day, and being checked when exiting on my very first metro trip - it made me so happy! I was really there after a 4 year wait.

Edit: I haven’t ever used a single ticket. Back in 2018, I used a 24 hr pass, but otherwise a 15 day or 7 day.

Posted by
18832 posts

The ID is just for the 15 day pass and longer. Even then, I have never been asked for my ID at a stop. This is one time when a copy might suffice, or an expired DL. They just dont want people sharing passes.

Maybe with BudapestGO, since the App is tied to your phone, they are happy with that as proof.

But this is precisely the reason I did a post rather than answer a PM. You guys are better at this than I am.

Posted by
195 posts

I've been asked to show my pass several times, but have never needed to show identification. In fact, I've not met anyone who has been asked to produce ID. It's required to prevent sharing of passes.

Posted by
18832 posts

Carrying personal identification when you are behind the Iron Curtain can be so dang inconvenient. Especially if you have to drop your drawers and undo a padlock to retrieve it. There is an accepted alternate to the ID. Instead carry 12.000 forints in cash. When you are asked for your ID tell the inspector no, and he will then accept the 12 000 forint fine payment, Be sure to smile and be polite, he has a rotten job.

Posted by
4945 posts

But, you see, I would probably still have to drop my drawers and undo the padlock to get to my stash of cash. If I'm going to the trouble, I might as well pull out my ID and save my cash for a drink!

Posted by
65 posts

thank you for your thorough information, the pictures will be helpful when emerging from a train to know what to look for. Is there by chance a reliable ATM in the Keleti station as well?

Posted by
4351 posts

CW is not going to be one of those people who walks off and forgets her purse with cards and all cash…..

Posted by
18832 posts

I suspect thr only ATM I'm Keleti is a Euro ATM. Okay if you need some fast cash. But the fee will be about $5. Google OTP ATM if you can wait. It's a local bank with a lot of ATMs, but there are others

Posted by
18832 posts

I seem to remember a young lady that left her purse in a Budapest Wine Bar. As suspected the staff took care of it until she returned. Trying to remember her name?

Posted by
4351 posts

I think she told me she did the same at a Girokastra hotel restaurant once also. The staff hand-delivered it to her room….

Posted by
4945 posts

Is there by chance a reliable ATM in the Keleti station as well?

My information is from 2018 when I used an OTP ATM (far better rates than Euronet) at Keleti station. Both are inside the station, against the front wall, to the left of the central doorway.

My photo shows a big blue Euronet ATM to the left and a gray ATM to its right with the white/green OTP logo. I recall there may have been a third ATM to the far left, but my photo doesn't show that to confirm. The OTP screen shows the choice of English, French and German.

Posted by
4945 posts

CW is not going to be one of those people who walks off and forgets her purse with cards and all cash…..

Nah, I only do that sort of thing at home, which is why I tether myself to everything I care about when I'm traveling! Oh, except my poor little reading glasses that I left on the table in Milan. I should have had them chained around my neck!

ETA: oh, and then there was the shirt and sweater I left at the airport, before I even caught my flight. I suppose that officially still counts as "at home" though. I had to go shopping in Turkey, which is why I think this whole idea of pack-nothing-and-go-shopping could actually work!

Posted by
18832 posts

For the ATM, it really is this easy: https://www.google.com/maps/search/atm/@47.5021936,19.0524421,13.9z/data=!4m2!2m1!6e2?authuser=0&entry=ttu

Which reminds me of sitting in an outdoor cafe one time, and watching the tourists go to an ATM.

Most of the bank ATM's are in glass vestibules. So i watched the tourists yanking on the door with no luck.

Some will see the card strip reader by the door, but not realize that any card with a magnetic strip will work and so walk away.

Others will scan a card and pull on the door to discover it doesnt open, then walk away.

The lucky ones will SCAN their card, then PUSH the door as most exterior doors in Europe open inward for some reason.

No, i wasnt mean not helping. There was a HOHO ticket cart near and the young lady that was working it would run over and help the tourists. Hungarians are generally nice people.

Posted by
4945 posts

Were you cold on the airplane

I don't remember being cold. Maybe I was wearing 10 layers so I wouldn't have to check a bag 🤣

Posted by
4637 posts

A peculiar add on:

For the group of 5 day pass (5000), the pass consists of 2 separate pieces:

A. A single ticket with time expiration and a bar code.

B. A block of 4 tickets with bar codes.

We (a group of 4) assumed the block of 4 bar codes would be sufficient for 4 riders. Wrong! The inspectors do not carry bar code readers so can’t verify the validity of bar-coded tickets. Fortunately we were able to scrounge around and find the fifth single ticket with the printed time expiration on it.

Posted by
4637 posts

Yes, we purchased that fare, but the paper ticket didn’t look like that, but I remember the circle with 5 figures in it. It was in 2 parts as I described. I concentrated on the bar codes. I don’t have it anymore. There was a third piece of paper that was the receipt, We never saw a scan technique as described, on metro or trams.

Yes it happened as you described.

Posted by
18832 posts

Also remember that many tram numbers use parts of the same tracks. The 4 and the 6 tram use the same track in Pest but go different ways in Buda. Same with the 47 and 49 trams.

Today I had an appointment in Buda. Took the 4/6 to the appointment. After, I went to the tram stop and headed home .... except I did not realize the 17 Tram shares the track and I got on without looking at the number. Ended up near Obuda instead if crossing the river to Pest. But I saw amazing architecture and interesting neighborhoods and I think I found my new barber. Getting lost is fun.