World’s oldest electric underground railway goes digital

Budapest railway go digital
Switchio in Budapest

The digital transformation of the public transit network in Budapest has been expanded to the city’s metro system, the oldest electric underground railway in the world.

In the summer of 2023, commuters in Budapest using the 100E airport shuttle bus became the first in the country to experience the unparalleled ease and speed of digital ticketing when the public transport operator, BKK, introduced Pay&Go, a revolutionary way to ride based on Switchio’s innovative platform for contactless EMV payments.

A single tap, a single ticket

A resounding success, the trial phase on the airport shuttle bus showed that the vast majority of riders are very happy to forego traditional paper tickets and prefer to tap in as they board the bus.

In November 2023, Pay&Go was expanded to serve the roughly 1.27 million daily users of Budapest Metro, where a quick tap of the bank card buys them a single adult fare. The system requires no online registration or prepayment, and in the event of an inspection, passengers simply present their bank card to verify the validity of their ticket on a handheld reader, which can also quickly accept payment of a fine.

Moreover, users of the new system can log into an online customer portal to view their journey history and download receipts, a useful tool for tracking travel expenses.

Digital ticketing: far more than an easy way to ride

The digitalization of payments in public transit is driven by technological advancements, evolving customer preferences, and a desire to make transportation more convenient, efficient, and accessible.

This project is part of BKK’s continued efforts to provide its passengers with an improved user experience while advancing ecofriendly public transportation with paperless digital solutions.

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Jan Šilar Switchio
Jan Silar
Business Director, Transport Division