I will be traveling to Hungary next month and I would like to know if the trains and buses between different cities are punctual or not. I am from Spain and here, in general, the trains are but the buses are not (due to traffic jams and similar stuff).

I've found this survey but it doesn't give me any information about buses (which I expect to be less punctual than trains) and the information about trains is also not very clear to me.

I will note that I still consider it to be punctual if it just involves a difference of a few minutes (up to fifteen minutes more or less) with respect to the established schedule. I'm just concerned with major delays.

  • 1
    This month's issue of World Traveller contains an article favourably mentioning the Tramline #2 in Budapest if that's of any use...
    – Gayot Fow
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 14:49
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    Yes, I had seen that it was recommended by National Geographic as one of the best 10 tram lines of the world (budapestagent.com/…) and I was planning to take a ride on it. Thanks.
    – S -
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 15:23

2 Answers 2


This depends on the size and popularity of your route. A small bus between two rural communities that have at most few hundred people might not even run if the driver has a bad mood that day, but an InterCity train will almost always be on schedule. In most cases you should allow yourself 5-15 minutes of delay, nearly all major trains will arrive within this timeframe.

Public transport in Budapest is generally good, even if there are delays, the system makes up for it with frequency and alternative routes.

Buses between cities (especially that do not use highways) tend to behave erratically, as in they can sometimes accumulate quite large delays over the course of their stops due to either a few problematic passengers (who don't understand that this is not the bus they were waiting for, who wish to pay with a huge banknote that the driver has no change for, tries to pay with a credit card, etc.) or many little problems (dozens of people scraping change from their pockets while others are waiting behind them, an entire school class boarding a bus, etc.).

So all in all, the generic answer is they are reasonably punctual in most cases, but there are exceptions. If you mention your exact route, I might be able to give some better estimates (if I have any experience regarding that specific area).

  • I don't know the exact route in advance yet but the advice is very useful, I'll take it into account when deciding it. Thanks.
    – S -
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 9:46
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    In this case I'd recommend favoring the more popular routes and taking the train whenever possible, as these seem to be more punctual on average. Have a pleasant stay and feel free to ask if something is not clear :)
    – zovits
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 9:49

Regarding trains, there's a joke about the Hungarian Railways (MAV): it only has five adversaries, the four seasons and the passengers. Weather related very severe delays are quite common. It can be a large tree branch falling over some tracks, killing the entire route. In the summer heat, there will be speed limits. Let's not even talk of snow. The system doesn't have a lot of redundancy built in. So, yes, normally trains will be punctual within 5-15 minutes but you need to pay close attention to up-to-date information which is typically only available in Hungary (for example, on http://www.mavcsoport.hu/ under Mavinform).

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