Bus Drivers!

Old Dec 30th 2011, 6:03 pm
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Default Bus Drivers!

I'm interested in knowing your experiences of Hungarian bus drivers. Both my wife and I find 90% of them unhelpful and especially with us both being deaf they are not very sympathetic. My Hungarian mother-in-law a couple of years ago missed her step when she got off the bus and the driver didn't express any concern and couldn't be bothered to help. Other passengers had to help lift my m-i-l off the ground.
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Old Dec 30th 2011, 10:33 pm
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Default Re: Bus Drivers!

Hi Fen, sorry to hear of your negative experiences, I hope your mother-in-law wasn't badly hurt.

My mother has always had a positive experience on the buses here and in fact, the last time she travelled from Budapest to Zalakaros, after a scary experience with a rogue taxi driver, the bus driver seen she was rather shaken and helped her on the bus before refusing to accept money for her ticket (though it could have been that he realised she was a pensioner ). Our only other experience with bus drivers is the chap across the road, who is... a bus driver, he is a really nice chap. My daughter has also had dealings with wonderfully helpful train conductors on the Nagykanizsa to Budapest route - perhaps they have been lucky?

Going slightly off topic - the only people I have found somewhat unhelpful are some waiters/waitresses and the customer service department in the Nagykanizsa Obi (though since a British person we know wrote a complaint to the head office, their attitude has changed for the better).
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Old Dec 30th 2011, 10:52 pm
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Default Re: Bus Drivers!

Originally Posted by Rural Hungary

Going slightly off topic - the only people I have found somewhat unhelpful are some waiters/waitresses and the customer service department in the Nagykanizsa Obi (though since a British person we know wrote a complaint to the head office, their attitude has changed for the better).
Was in a station (centrally located) in the Budapest Metro a few days ago for the first time ever and it took us AGES to find a machine that was working (and even then it only accepted a mass of coins, no notes) and then the machine which validates the tickets. For the return trip from the F Puskas sta we actually found a counter with staff selling tickets.

Completed our journeys, got up the escalators and were suddenly surrounded by 4 staff (amazing as we'd seen nobody previously & didn't recognise any uniform straight away) and a curt "Show us tickets" followed. When my wife at first only could produce the tickets receipt one said 'That is NOT ticket', thankfully we still had both tickets in pockets, is it true you get fined 7,000 Forint for not producing a valid ticket in there?
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Old Dec 31st 2011, 12:03 am
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Default Re: Bus Drivers!

Originally Posted by General Tojo
Was in a station (centrally located) in the Budapest Metro a few days ago for the first time ever and it took us AGES to find a machine that was working (and even then it only accepted a mass of coins, no notes) and then the machine which validates the tickets. For the return trip from the F Puskas sta we actually found a counter with staff selling tickets.

Completed our journeys, got up the escalators and were suddenly surrounded by 4 staff (amazing as we'd seen nobody previously & didn't recognise any uniform straight away) and a curt "Show us tickets" followed. When my wife at first only could produce the tickets receipt one said 'That is NOT ticket', thankfully we still had both tickets in pockets, is it true you get fined 7,000 Forint for not producing a valid ticket in there?
Oh, sounds like my daughter has been lucky with the trains then. Yes, you do get a fine but not quite sure how it works. My daughter, having been ripped off by a taxi driver, had to jump on the train at Kelenfold without a ticket as her flight had been delayed and the train was about to leave. The taxi driver had left her 1,000ft short for her train ticket and she only had sterling, she was given a slip to return to the station and pay for the ticket plus about 3,000 extra - so I assume that was a fine/penalty for not having a ticket.
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Old Dec 31st 2011, 8:55 am
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Default Re: Bus Drivers!

Unfortunately if Taxi drivers know you are Foreign most will try and rip you off you do however get a few decent one's. Buses tend not to stop to long at bus stops but maybe that is the same everywhere (long time since I've been on a bus though lol)
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Old Jan 1st 2012, 3:51 am
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Default Re: Bus Drivers!

Just a quick note about taxis in Budapest: taxis are basically unregulated (similarly like in stockholm, prague etc), meaning that there is not really any standard fare, so most of them are not per se cheating, you just experience very basic capitalsm :-) (Obviously like everywhere there are some who are also cheating, but that is another thing - and that happens really rarely).

This works pretty much the same if you are local or not - just most locals, except "videki" know what they are doing... :-)

The most basic advice is that never take a taxi from the street - and especially around stations etc, always call for one. This way you can be sure that you have lower and very reasonable fairs: recommended ones are Fö taxi, City taxi, 6x6 taxi etc. I have never heard that someone using those would have felt like being "cheated".
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Old Jan 1st 2012, 8:14 am
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Default Re: Bus Drivers!

I am afraid that the unregulated crooks in Budapest Taxis have an undue influence on how the rest of the world judges Hungarians.

Recently 3 friends walked out of Gellert & it being cold, decided to get a taxi to their apartment in Deak Ferenc Ter. The taxi driver charged 9,000 HUF. The three ladies (2 ausies, 1 UK) protested but the taxi driver locked his doors & told them they would not be allowed out until they paid up!

The 3 had enjoyed Budapest until then & had planned to revisit. They could at a push afford the 9,000 HUF, but were shocked to be ripped off in the day time City Centre. They have sworn to never return as they are angry.

Budapest Taxis should be regulated & policed. Their highwayman behaviour does enormous damage to Hungary's reputation!

Our advice to visiting friends is to use the Buses, the Metro or walk. If you have to use a taxi, ask the price first & if they fail to give a fixed price - walk away!
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Old Jan 1st 2012, 10:21 am
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Default Re: Bus Drivers!

Originally Posted by John Gilbert
I am afraid that the unregulated crooks in Budapest Taxis have an undue influence on how the rest of the world judges Hungarians.

Recently 3 friends walked out of Gellert & it being cold, decided to get a taxi to their apartment in Deak Ferenc Ter. The taxi driver charged 9,000 HUF. The three ladies (2 ausies, 1 UK) protested but the taxi driver locked his doors & told them they would not be allowed out until they paid up!

The 3 had enjoyed Budapest until then & had planned to revisit. They could at a push afford the 9,000 HUF, but were shocked to be ripped off in the day time City Centre. They have sworn to never return as they are angry.

Budapest Taxis should be regulated & policed. Their highwayman behaviour does enormous damage to Hungary's reputation!

Our advice to visiting friends is to use the Buses, the Metro or walk. If you have to use a taxi, ask the price first & if they fail to give a fixed price - walk away!
Hi John, yes it is totally deplorable how some of the taxi drivers operate, especially at the airport where surely it would be easy to regulate. My mothers experience enraged me. She knows to go to the counter and attain a ticket for the journey but on this occasion her flight was late and she had a very limited time frame in which to catch her bus from the bus station. Being rather stressed out, she agreed to go with one of the taxi touts in the arrivals and on arriving at the bus station, she was asked to pay 9,000ft instead of 4,000ft(or around that amount). She told the driver that she didn't have that much as she had to get her bus ticket. He then asked for her credit card but fortunately she realised he was an extortionist and said she didn't have one to which he responded that everybody from the UK had a credit card and said she had to pay the money or he would keep her suitcase. At that, he took her suitcase and put it in the boot stating that she wouldn't get it back until she gave him the money or her credit card. I was understandably fuming that this could happen to an elderly lady who would have been stranded in Budapest having missed the last bus, were it not for a kindly bus driver. Needless to say, she had no option but to pay the price he asked. Thankfully, the bus driver didn't charge her otherwise she would have had to find an ATM and missed the bus!
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Old Jan 1st 2012, 2:15 pm
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Default Re: Bus Drivers!

Wow, glad now we only used the metro in Budapest during our short stay - don't the taxis have meters at all? Stayed at the Ramada Plaza hotel, nice enough but our poor timing around Xmas meant the spa closed very early both nights so we had no chance to check it out - anyone used it before?
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Old Jan 1st 2012, 10:22 pm
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Default Re: Bus Drivers!

I am not defending the taxi drivers, just that you are experiencing the free market without regulation (and some people believe that this is how the capitalism is supposed to work, price regulation is after all kind of socialist approach) - and if you ever travel in Prague, Stockholm, Warsaw, you need to be aware that there the system is the same, taxi drivers are allowed to charge whatever they want, more or less.

I am just trying to give you advice how this works, I doubt we can change it here anyhow - we just need to be prepared to defend ourselves as in this particular case it is definitely "caveat emptor".

However, on the other side of the coin, due to free taxi market, there are few cities where it is so cheap and easy to use taxis as in BP (as in other non-regulated cites), and they are available almost always - it is extremely rare that you have difficulties getting a taxi (compared with countless of times i needed to take minicab in London, or simply wait for ages in italy, spain etc to get one). You just need to know what you are doing.

So the rule is simple:

1. Airport: to make it simple: just take the airport taxi that has outside of the arrivals (currently Fő taxi). You will get anywhere in the city with 4000ft or so.

2. Anywhere else: CALL a taxi. E.g. City taxi 06702111111,taxi4 0614444444, Buda taxi: 0612000000 etc. They all have english speaking operator and will get you a taxi to pick you up in less than 10 min anywhere in the BP, anytime of the day.

3. Never ever take taxi from the street or take any taxi without company logo and phone no on its side. IF you do it, AGREE the price IN ADVANCE. But better not to take one.

I use myself taxis almost daily (and have been using them for years whenever i am not using my bike :-) ), as i rarely use any of my cars in BP as it is so easy and cheap to use taxi that it is pointless to have your own car and worry about parking etc.

If you are still not happy, don't complain to me, the right person is Adam Smith :-)
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Old Jan 17th 2012, 10:37 pm
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Default Re: Bus Drivers!

Thanks Tomasc, your guiding rules are a good help.

I think you underestimate capitalism if you use it to justify criminal extortion. While many of us favour a free market over state controls, a pure Adam Smith free market relies on full information being available.

The problem with the Budapest taxis is that there is no prior knowledge of the price & those on their first trip are easy targets for a thief. This is not capitalism it is criminal.

I understand from a Hungarian friend that controls are to be introduced. Thank heavens - we may get a sensibly regulated market as in most mixed economy capital cities. Hungary's reputation will be enhanced.
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Old Jan 17th 2012, 10:55 pm
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Default Re: Bus Drivers!

Originally Posted by John Gilbert

I understand from a Hungarian friend that controls are to be introduced. Thank heavens - we may get a sensibly regulated market as in most mixed economy capital cities. Hungary's reputation will be enhanced.
I hope so John. Personally, I do not understand the difficulty in ensuring that rogue drivers do not operate out of the airport! A good start would be signage directing passengers to the ticket booth and removing known rogue drivers from the arrivals area.
Had my mother been a first time visitor to Hungary, she certainly would not be back and would advise others not to visit either - what happened to her was sickening and yes criminal and no excuse can justify that.
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Old Jan 18th 2012, 1:40 am
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Default Re: Bus Drivers!

They are supposed be introducing controls at the airport. The only legal ones are the ones at the desk outside the arrivals hall. I take taxis here quite regularly, City Taxi is good. My friends travelled the 1km from the train station to my house in Siofok once and were charged 2000ft (3 years ago), shocking!
Bus drivers in Budapest are variable as anywhere..... They get a paltry wage and maybe this accounts for the grump. The fine for not having a valid ticket on the bus or metro in Budapest is now 8000ft on the spot or 16000ft if you pay it later.
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