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Karacsony: Public transport deal with government beneficial for Budapest

A recent agreement between the Budapest metropolitan council and the central government on the integration of public transport and a new system of travel passes will benefit those living both in the capital and its agglomeration, Gergely Karacsony, the city's mayor, said on Thursday.

Karacsony told a press conference that though he had been critical of several of the government’s recent policies concerning Budapest, the agreement on the reciprocal use of city and nationwide passes would define a transport policy and integrated public transport that would be in Hungary’s interest for decades.

He thanked the government for its “partner-like approach” and the transport companies involved for their cooperation.

Karacsony noted that the agreement will introduce a more passenger-friendly pass system from March 1. Under the new system, the price of the monthly Budapest pass will drop from 9,500 forints (EUR 24.20) to 8,950 forints, the new Pest County student pass will cost 945 forints, and the monthly nationwide student pass will cost 1,890 forints, he said.

He noted that under the agreement, income from the Budapest, Pest County and nationwide passes and fare supplements will be divided in proportion to how the services are provided.

“What this means percentage-wise will have to be calculated by the sides by the end of March, taking 2023 as the base year,” Karacsony added.

He said another reason why the deal would benefit Budapest was that it was set to put an end to “an era of political bargaining” on how much is allocated to public transport in the state budget.

Meanwhile, Karacsony said reducing traffic on Budapest’s roads was critical to the city’s and the country’s “green future”. It was therefore in the city’s fundamental interest, he argued, to offer a cheaper and simpler public transport system to those commuting between the capital and its agglomeration.

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