It is certainly not new for those who arrive from Western Europe, but the introduction of chipped tickets and passes will be a serious change in the life of Budapest’s public transport.
Here, the passengers validate their paper-ticket manually or show up their passes to the controllers since 1968. Within the foreseeable future, however, this almost half a century old tradition will end, as next year begins the installation of the electronic, time-based rationing system in the capital. The system will work in practice as follows: the passengers touch their smart card to a smart sensor, that automatically deducts the fare when boarding, and they’re ready to go. There will be no queues either, since if the card has run out of money, we can upload it at any ATM.
Passengers may also choose the personalized or the anonymous form of the chipped plastic card. The travel card with name and photo on it (personalized one) will not be transferable to other, but some types of passes can be bought only with this. Unlike the anonymous card, which won’t contain photo or name, just a card number, therefore it can be transferred to others.
BKV, the public transport company of Budapest thinks about those, who use the public transport occasionally, once or twice a year (such as tourists). They will travel with a paper-based smart card ("smart paper"), which will be disposable after a single use. It's basically a time-based ticket that is valid for example 30 or 60 minutes, within the administrative boundaries of Budapest. During this period, it entitles the owner with unlimited interchanges. The organization expects, that the capital will release half million registered chip cards and about nine million of the no-named, short-termed ones.
The first step in the development was a usability survey last year: passengers tested the entry doors yet to be installed for months at Corvin negyed metro station. The current paper-based system will be eliminated in several steps. The ultimate goal is for the tickets to be purchased via mobile or online. In the framework of the modernization, about 800 access control gates will be set up in the metro stations, but – for example – in some stations of the HÉV (suburban railway), the validating equipment will be placed on walls or columns. And also around 10,000 devices will be placed on 2,500 buses, trolley buses and trams. The complete switchover will last for three years, is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.
So there is no reason for concern, there is plenty of time to prepare for the new system.