Because we didn't today and were forced to pay a fine when checked by the controller. We bought two single transit tickets for 700 florins (about $2.62) and couldn't validate them on the tram...it was apparently not working...and then we completely forgot about it. After taking a couple of different trips and not bothering to even try (our fault) we got checked on board our last trip. The fare enforcement man didn't speak much english and just kept saying "no discrimination" but that we had to pay but that he would make a deal. I needed to find a toilet and my husband ended up as he said "making it go away" to the tune of 30 euros ($35) instead of 16000 Hungarian florins (about $62). I think the guy was making us an offer to pay "just" 8000 florins but I was so mad I wanted the police (probably not smart). Anyway, we paid $35 and learned a not too terribly expensive lesson. The embarassing thing about this is that we are both retired from Metro Transit in King County (Seattle) and are serious transit advocates. Shame on us! Validate your ticket! Aside from this we've had a lovely two days in Budapest taking a Segway Tour with Rick's recommended Yellow Zebra Segways and Bikes, and yes we got the 20% Rick discount along with a wonderful cruise on the Danube with Rick's suggested Legenda company along with the discount. Budapest deserves more time but alas tomorrow we drive to Krakow.
I always buy a transit pass in Budapest and that alleviates the need to try and find the ticket validation machine and hoping it works--just wave your pass at conductors and you're good. At least he made a deal with you. I hope you love Krakow as much as I did, it's so compact I never needed to take their transit, just walked everywhere.
Read before you use Budapest Metro:
You have a good attitude about the whole thing. So, don’t read this as harsh, not intended to be.
couldn't validate them on the tram
If it was one of the older trams, the mechanism is mechanical and really is 100% reliable. You have to know how to use it (insert ticket and pull down on handle). In the newer trams they are electric (just insert ticket and listen for printing noise) and because they are newer, they rarely fail, but there are several on each tram. Be sure to put the ticket in arrow first and arrow up.
I think the guy was making us an offer to pay "just" 8000 florins but
I was so mad I wanted the police (probably not smart).
Getting the police would not be “probably not smart”, the ones I have met have been as considerate and good as any you would expect to meet anyplace. The transit cop was trying to tell you that the fine is 8.000 forint on the spot or 16.000 at the office later. Since 30 euro is about 8.000 forint I suspect that was the conversion the transit cops use for your convenience if you don’t have the forints on you.
At least will give your credit for not posting a rant about how tourists are picked and that the whole thing is a scam. We forgot once on the Leonard Express into Rome and sat in a small panic waiting for the inspector to show up. Fortunately he did not.
My significant other one time confused the receipt for a book of tickets with an actual ticket and we got busted. 8.000 on the spot. Things happen.
But in literally hundreds of metro rides ove 15 years, we have been checked twice.
I can see how one happens to forget to validate, yes, it happens, though super rare with me. On this last 13 night visit to Vienna, one day I forgot to have on me the Combi-Ticket given to me by the hotel. I had ridden at least two different rides on that day before making this discovery, I thought , oh well, if my luck runs out and I am caught I'll just lose that amount in Euro. I changed directions on where I was going by heading back to the hotel to get my Combi-Ticket. My luck held , I was not caught.
I would have paid the contoller's amount of 8,000 florints too, ie taken the controller's deal
I'm a little confused. What were so mad about? You acknowledge that the tickets were not validated and it was your fault and your recounting is so calm that I wonder what made you so mad.
If the OP got the impression that for 30 euro the problem would go away, as if it were a bribe, then some might be angered at the extortion attempt. What the OP didn't understand was that the 30 euro (about 8.000 forints) was actually the legitimate, published, fine if paid on the spot.
Always indicate before paying that you want a receipt, they will give it to you. If you don't get a receipt assume the guy pocketed the money. Either way you paid the published fine and fair is fair.
We find the transit police watching the Budapest Metro stations closer than any other city we have been in. We too just buy numerous days passes.
We often just get on buses and ride for an hour or two. We will then get off, figure out where we are and how to get back home.
Thanks, James E and, ironically the OP was also being cut a break because the inspector was only charging for one fine instead of two. I see this as a language gap because it seems like the word deal suggested something shady to the OP at the time when that does not seem to have been the intent of the inspector.
Love Budapest transit -- I get a 7-day pass, just flash it as needed, and my husband can pull out his maroon EU passport and ride free (we're at an age where they just look at us and know we are old-age eligible. Sort of disheartening the first time it happens ...) But you will know for the next trip (this will be #3 for us in about 3 years.)
David, I have been there when there were police at every station, and I have been there when there are none to be seen and it pretty much the honor system. When I said we had only been stopped twice, I meant by the plain clothes guys that sit on the trams and metro lines trying to guess who has a travel card and who didn't validate a ticket. Unlike Paris, for instance, no turnstiles in Budapest to hop over, so it really is an honor system and I get the impression that the cheating is fairly low.
BUT, if you use tickets, hold on to them. You can be checked when you get on and when you get off and all the way up the stairs on the way out.
Yes, I would have been mad too, not at the controller nor at being caught, since that aspect is whimsical but at my own negligence for not having thought the ticket had to be validated since I should have known better.