Bus Drivers Refuse Free Travel for Hungarian Pass Holders

The Hungarian Pass (Magyar Igazolvány), scheduled to grant holders free travel starting from March 1st, faces challenges as reports, such as one appeared on Index emerge of bus drivers hesitating to honor this benefit, with passengers being denied free travel on multiple occasions.

On February 29, 2024, the government issued the Decree on Public Transport Travel Discounts, extending the privilege of free public transport within Hungary to Hungarians living abroad holding a Hungarian Pass. Despite these new discounts coming into effect on March 1, Hungarians in Transcarpathia are raising complaints about Volánbusz (the state bus service) drivers in Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county (eastern Hungary) refusing to provide free tickets, leaving them no choice but to pay full fare.

A Facebook post shared the frustration of one passenger who recounted an incident from Mátészalka to Fehérgyarmat, where a bus driver declined to offer a free ride to a mother and her minor child, citing the pass’s invalidity. The woman’s defense, arguing the pass’s indefinite validity, fell on deaf ears, and they were compelled to pay full fare.

She stopped arguing, bought the tickets for both of them, but seemed ashamed. Because she had been shamed. Humiliated,” wrote the user.

The situation escalated when, at the journey’s end, the passenger confronted the bus driver, urging him to act in accordance with the law in the future. The driver responded immediately, stating his intent to continue his actions.

The Facebook post gained traction, prompting numerous similar accounts from other Transcarpathians, illustrating a widespread issue.

Unfortunately, I have personally encountered a similar case not once, not twice.

Of course, you could call the police, but who wants problems for themselves, right? This hateful pettiness that some people have is rooted in something deep inside them, and the fact that someone might get something in return for something makes them feel as if they have less of it,” noted another user.

Others shared instances of receiving free tickets from the driver, albeit with unpleasant remarks accompanying the process of filling out the Hungarian Pass. Despite the sense of helplessness, many victims refrained from lodging complaints, trusting in the collective strength of their community to bring the issue to the authorities’ attention.


Since 2001, the Hungarian Pass has offered various benefits, particularly in travel, culture, and education. With the validity of issued documents changed to indefinite periods as of June 20, 2007, under Act LIII of 2007, the Hungarian Pass allows holders to travel free of charge twelve times a year, with only additional long-distance tickets incurring charges.

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