Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Budapest Metro is the fastest means of public transport in Budapest. At the moment, it consists of three lines (including the Millennium Underground), each marked with a number and a separate colour. Metro 4 is currently being built and the plans for Metro 5 are ready for implementation. Probably both new lines will work by 2010.
The original purpose of the first metro line was to facilitate the transport to Városliget (City Park), the main venue of the millennium celebrations of Hungary. However, the capital always opposed any surface transport on Andrássy út (Andrássy Avenue) – this has since become the most elegant road of Budapest, part of the World Heritage. The plan of the metro was accepted in 1870 by the National Assembly, its construction started in 1894, and it was finished in less than two years through 2000 workers and by using up-to-date machinery. This section was built entirely from the surface (with the cut-and-cover method). Completed by the deadline, it was inaugurated on May 2 1896, the year of the millennium, by emperor Francis Joseph, as the first metro line on the European Continent.
The train ran along Andrássy út, from Vörösmarty tér (the centre) to Városliget, in a northeast-southwest direction, but its terminus was the Zoo (this has since been replaced). It had eleven stations, nine underground and two overground. The length of the line was 3.7 km at that time; trains started in every two minutes. It was able to carry as many as 35,000 people a day (today 103,000 people travel on it on a workday).
The plans for the two further metro lines were made as early as in 1895, defining the main directions of north-south and east-west. The first plans for the present-day two lines were made in 1942, and the Council of Ministers' decree enacted its building in 1950. Metro 2 was originally planned to connect two major railway stations, Keleti (Eastern) and Déli (Southern) pályaudvar. They wanted to complete it by 1955, but construction was ceased for financial and political reasons until 1963. It was finally opened with seven stations on April 4 (a Communism holiday) in 1970. It runs in an east-west direction, and as yet it is the only line to cross the River Danube and reach Buda (the western part of Budapest). It has a joint station with the existing metro at Deák tér, which has since become a transfer point for the third line as well.
In 1973, both lines were extended (the first with one station, the second with four), so the first line reached its current length of 4.4 km, as well as the second, 10.3 km, consisting of eleven stations.
The Budapest Transport Company (Budapesti Közlekedési Vállalat, BKV) took over the maintenance in 1973, and this is which still runs the metro. The colour-marking of the metro lines was introduced in 1976. This was when the first line was given the colour yellow, the second the red and the third the blue.
The construction of the third line started in 1970, and its first section was opened in 1977, including six stations. Its southern direction was complemented with five more stations in 1980, and the northern one in 1981, 1984, and 1990 with nine stations, reaching its current length of 20 stations, 17 km, the longest line in Budapest. M3 runs in a north-south direction (more exactly, from north-northeast to southeast).
In the 80's and 90's, M1 had major reconstructions. Out of its 11 stations, eight are original and three were made at the reconstructions. The stations recall the time of the millennium, including the floor, the benches, the wooden windows and the lighting. Every station is a little museum as well, with photos and information. – There is a Millennium Underground Museum in the Deák tér underpass where the rest from these times can be seen.
Metro 2 is currently under major reconstructions, with two stations being ready: Blaha Lujza tér and Kossuth tér (the latter near the Parliament Building ). These are currently the most modern stations in Budapest. The reconstructions usually take place in the summer holidays, including 2005. The stations to be renovated in 2005 are Batthyány tér, Astoria and Keleti pályaudvar. Elevators will be installed in the first phase at stations Kossuth tér, Blaha Lujza tér, Keleti pályaudvar, and Astoria.
In the past decades, difficulties arose about Metro 4 from the medicinal springs around the planned route (eg. Gellért fürdő) and there was a long debate over whether its building will be safe and over its financing. This line is going to run from southwest (including Buda) to northeast. Preparations have been made and are being made for it at several places, and they are often done along with the overall renovation of squares.
Metro 5 also seems to be fairly close. It will run along the Danube (crossing it at Margitsziget), connecting suburban railways going north and going south. Its building is planned to be started around 2007.
There are plans for the extension of Metro 3 towards north and southeast, perhaps in this decade too.
At the moment, the only meeting point between the lines is Deák tér, however, the forthcoming lines are going to have other stations for changing.
Tickets have to be validated at the entrance, before taking the escalator, with the orange-coloured machines, and they have to be kept until leaving the metro. At validation, the current date and time is printed on tickets, along with other information. Tickets are checked manually by inspectors, who usually turn up at stations near the escalators, but they may inspect tickets wherever in the metro area. Tickets or passes must be handed over to them on request. They wear a red ribbon with golden inscription around their wrists, but they may hide it before the actual inspection.
To decide which way to travel, one has to know the name of terminus; these are put out at the stations. The name of the stations are usually written on the wall of the tunnel in both directions.
Travel conditions are the same for all the transport vehicles in Budapest, and they are available here: . These deal with the minimal age and health state of travellers, the maximum size of hand luggage (prohibiting some chemicals), transportation conditions for dogs (ticket/pass, muzzle and lead are required), prohibition of smoking, eating, and music, the accident insurance provided with the ticket, and the conditions for its use.
Types of tickets and passes
There is a single ticket (as of 2005 spring, 160 HUF), the same as for the other means of transport in Budapest, and there are further tickets available specifically for the metro: a section ticket for up to three stops, a transfer ticket for a trip with one transfer, and a section transfer ticket for up to five stops including one transfer. Except for the section ticket (which is valid for 30 minutes), all tickets are valid for 60 minutes, within Budapest. One-day tickets, tourist tickets (for 3 days), seven-day travelcards, fortnight, 30-day and yearly passes can be bought too, as well as discount coupon books containing ten or twenty pieces.
Working hours and frequency
The Budapest Metro trains start running at 4:30 in the morning, and the last vehicle leaves at 11.10 p.m. from the terminus. The rush hours are between 6 and 8 a.m. and between 2 and 5 p.m. on workdays, when trains leave in every two or three minutes. Early morning and night trains leave in every 10 or 15 minutes. On Christmas Eve (December 24) trains usually run only until about 3:00 in the afternoon, and there may occur other breaks as well at special holidays.
Due to recent developments, mobile phones can be used throughout the existing metro lines, although travellers are asked to switch them off.
On Metro 2 and 3 there are still the same Soviet vehicles running (like in Moscow and Prague). The trains are driven by two people, except for Metro 3, which has a "program carpet" controlling the trains' speed and stopping. This means that controlling the metro mostly consists of opening and closing the door. – This system will be launched soon on Metro 2 as well.
Most of the stations are underground, and they can be reached with escalators (usually three or four at a station). A noted exception is Kőbánya-Kispest, the southern terminus of Metro 3. – The deepest station is Moszkva tér.
The passengers' area is in the middle in most of the stations, but at some stations passengers have to use the stairs to take the opposite direction.
In case of an attack or a catastrophy, the Budapest Metro can provide shelter for 220,000 people, including fresh air (with an air-filter), drinking-water (3 l) and washing-water (27 l per person per day).
The full length of the three metro lines is 31.7 km, comprising 40 stations (among them one for changing). For the forthcoming Metro 4, 12 new stations will be built and two further stations applied for transfer.
- Budapest Transport Company
- Millennium Underground Museum at Deák tér underpass
- The Millennium Subway Line of Budapest (with pictures of the above museum)
- Budapest Metro Gallery (pictures taken before 2004, the station reconstructions)
- Budapest Metro (a fansite in English as well)
- Site of the forthcoming M4 line
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