Taxis in Budapest: Overview
Taxis in Budapest are a popular way of transport among tourists, as the government-regulated taxi fares are considered more affordable than the tariffs in most European cities. Although the public transportation system of Budapest is adequate and reliable, taxi transfers are often preferred, especially when time and convenience outweigh the money issue. In general terms, taxi services provided by official taxi companies are comfortable and efficient. Budapest taxis circulate the city around the clock and offer quick rides under normal traffic and weather conditions. Therefore, it’s better to avoid hiring a taxi during peak hours (07:30 am-09:30 am / 04:30 pm-06:30 pm) and during heavy rainy days. In any case, avoiding unofficial taxis in Budapest is of the utmost importance.
Budapest Taxi Fares
The taxi fares in Hungary are defined by the government. Hence, all Budapest taxis charge according to the same price table. The city rides don’t have fixed tariffs, but their price is formed by a taximeter based on the distance and the traveling time. The flag fee is 1000HUF (2.90€/3.10$), and the price per km is 400HUF (1.15€/1.25$). Waiting time is also charged at 100HUF/minute (0.30€/0.35$). However, there is no extra charge for night or airport transfers or luggage.
Our Tip: If you decide to hire one of the Limousine taxis, you should know that the above-mentioned fares don’t apply to them. Thus, you shall receive a door-to-door superior transfer service, but the price will be much higher.
Budapest Taxis: Payment Methods
The majority of the official Budapest taxis accept payments both in cash and via credit/debit cards. In any case, you should always carry some cash with you or inform your taxi driver if you are planning on using a bank card to avoid unwanted surprises. Payments are made in the local currency (forints), yet euros are also widely accepted. However, the exchange rate from forints to euros is a determent, as it is usually high. Moreover, if you opt for a payment in cash, small bills are always preferable, as taxi drivers often don’t have change.
How to hire a taxi in Budapest
You can catch a cab in Budapest either by hailing one on the street or by taking the first taxi waiting in line at the taxi ranks. However, as many unofficial, non-licensed taxis get around the city, the better option for hiring a taxi in Budapest is to order one. You can use the official taxi companies’ apps or ask for a taxi through the phone. It is preferable to hire your taxi through the phone as all the operators are English speakers, while the mobile apps may not function properly in the English version. All in all, calling for a cab should be your first choice unless you can absolutely distinguish a fake Budapest taxi.
How to Distinguish a Fake Budapest Taxi
Official Budapest taxis have some specific features that will help you to distinguish them from fake ones. This is extremely important as unofficial taxi companies or freelancers-individuals are usually seeking to scam tourists that are not aware of how to move around the city.
Thus, when hiring a taxi, you should always look for the following elements:
- Licensed taxis are yellow.
- Their license plate has a yellow background.
- They have their taxi company logo attached to their left front door.
- The phrase “Minősített Budapesti taxi / Licensed Budapest taxi” must also be displayed on the sticker on the car’s side.
- The roof “TAXI” sign has the company’s name written on it.
- The roof sign is always yellow (and not black).
- Some of the major taxi companies in Budapest are Főtaxi, Welcome pickups, Taxi 4, 6X6 Taxi, City Taxi, Budapest Taxi, TaxiPlus, Tele 5 Taxi, Elit Taxi, Bolt (Taxify), and Taxim.
Budapest Taxis to Budapest International Airport
Budapest taxis are the perfect option for your transfer from the city of Budapest to BUD Airport. You can always order a Budapest airport taxi, knowing it will be at your door in about 5-10 minutes (and no more than 15 minutes in case of really heavy traffic). That way, you will reach the airport comfortably and stress-free in about 35 minutes, without carrying around your luggage or being squeezed into public transportation means. The estimated cost for your ride will be 9800HUF (29€/29.30$), depending on the traffic conditions.
Useful Tips about Budapest Taxis
- Make sure the taximeter is set on and reset when entering the cab.
- You should prefer payments in forints as the taxi exchange rate is very high.
- Make sure you have been given the correct change, as the forint bills tend to look similar.
- You should always ask for a receipt at the end of your journey. If you want to make an official complaint or have forgotten items on the vehicle, you’ll find all the necessary info on the receipt.
- If you want to make an official complaint about your taxi ride, you should contact the Budapest Tourist Police at the number:+36 1 438 8080.
- It is advisable to carry small bills with you as many taxi drivers don’t have change.
- The taxi fares in Budapest are calculated via a taximeter. Thus, if a taxi driver tries to negotiate a fixed price before the ride, you should avoid him, as the taxi will most probably be a non-licensed vehicle.
- Tipping in Budapest isn’t obligatory. Still, if you are satisfied with your journey, it’s customary to leave an extra 10% as a tip.
- If you need a taxi suitable for people with disabilities, you should make a reservation in advance.
- It is better to order a taxi than to hail it on the street, as it is often difficult to distinguish the official from the unofficial cabs.
- Many taxi drivers don’t speak English. Hence, you should have the address of your location written down.
- A good idea is to have your GPS on, to avoid getting overcharged from unnecessary, circuitous routes.
How do I order a taxi in Budapest?
You can hire a taxi in Budapest either by hailing it on the street or entering one at a taxi rank. However, the safest way to avoid unofficial taxis is to order one. The best way to call for a taxi is by phone, as all the phone operators speak English. The taxi companies also have mobile apps, but they seem not entirely support the English versions
Are taxis expensive in Budapest?
Budapest taxis are cheaper than taxis in other European cities. Their fare is calculated by a taximeter. The initial fee is 1000HUF (2.90€/3.10$), while the cost per km is 400HUF (1.15€/1.25$), and the charge for the waiting time is 100HUF/minute (0.30€/0.35$). However, there is no extra charge for night rides or luggage.
Do taxis in Budapest take credit cards?
Yes, you can pay for your taxi ride using a bank card. In any case, you should always inform the taxi driver that you intend to pay with credit cards, as a minority of them don’t have POS or claim they are broken in order to get paid in cash.