The price of public transport in Budapest is average, and with only a few exceptions the stations and the vehicles are also at the same level, unfortunately.
In this article I broadly summarize which tickets and passes you can buy when you travel to Budapest. It’s worth reading it, because I share some useful information. (link)
Buying the tickets for the public transport is not enough, you also need to validate the tickets in front of the entrance by the metro, or after getting on the vehicles in case of any other public vehicles.
Pay close attention so that you always travel with a valid ticket!
It is especially important when you travel by metro, otherwise, in case of an inspection you will be caught. ☹
Usually, at the city center metro stops your ticket or pass is already checked at the entrance, and you are permitted to go down to the metro only afterwards.
At stops that are farther from the city center there is usually no such checking, but if you forget to validate your ticket, you might be penalized at the exit in the city center.
The ticket inspectors wear a blue armband and are always in pair, or there are even more of them. They usually “attack” from the two ends of the vehicle, so that no one can escape inspection.
Anyone who does not have a valid ticket will be asked to get off and will be penalized at the station. It’s also possible that the inspectors stand at the exit of the metro and the passengers are not allowed to leave until the penalty is paid or the paper is taken over of the fine. Foreigners usually have to pay by cash because it is not possible to pay by credit card.
There is none, and I can’t give you any good advice. ☹ Although a group of vigilant youngsters who don’t have valid tickets may sacrifice one or two of their peers, and while the inspectors are dealing with them the others may get away without a fine. It’s still cheaper to share those fines than paying the fines for everyone.
At the exit of the metro, in front of the escalator there is always a bunch of inspectors, standing in a line and checking everyone. The inspectors are quite savvy, and some of them always stand behind the line watching the passengers who want to slide behind the inspectors and avoid checking.
There is still none. If you are with a bigger group and you don’t have tickets then try to spread out and walk quickly to the escalators, hoping that not all of you will get a fine.
If you travel by bus you usually have to get on by the front door and validate your ticket in front of the driver. You can also buy a ticket from the driver, though it is more expensive than buying one from a ticket vending machine.
In my experience there are a lot of fare dodgers on the tram. They usually travel standing directly by the hole-puncher or validator, so that when they see an inspector they can promptly validate their tickets.
Either way, always have a valid ticket or pass. It’s not worth the worrying and the risk of running into an inspection.
Peanlty fares at: https://bkk.hu/en/tickets-and-passes/fines/
The inspectors are prepared for every tricks, so it doesn’t matter if you are talking in English, Spanish or Chinese to them… if you don’t have a ticket, you will get a fine.
But the locals also have their opinion about the situation, and anyone who has ever travelled by public transport in another European city asks themselves for sure: why are there so many inspectors? Or if there are so many of them, then at least they should be kind, polite and attentive with tourists, and they should be able to give them guidance. Unfortunately, they are often not able to do so, neither in Hungarian nor in English.
In other countries electronic access gates have been successfully introduced, but here, instead of development, total control remains. It breaks my heart when I see 2-3 inspectors giving costly fines to a group of foreigners carrying suitcases.