Keleti railway station Budapest train MÁV
Photo: Alpár Kató – Daily News Hungary ©

MÁV (the abbreviation of the Hungarian State Railways) is determined to adapt its service in all respects to the current expectations of passengers.

Vg writes that over the past years, MÁV has placed a great emphasis on the modernisation of its platforms for purchasing tickets: an application was created for both Android and iOS which is constantly being updated. Moreover, it is already possible to store our tickets and passes with the help of an e-ID. If we purchase a ticket online, it can be presented in PDF format on your phone during ticket inspection.

If you get on the train at a station where there is no opportunity to buy tickets, you could also buy your ticket with a credit card from the ticket inspector.

These solutions have come into prominence and are especially important in the current state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic as they allow us to purchase tickets and travel safely without physical contact.

What guidelines shape and have been shaping the development of ticket purchasing at the railway company?

Ever since the planning process, one of the foundations of MÁV’s ticket purchase system has been the need to store all sold products in the form of a unique electronic ticket in the central system. The goal for the near future is to have all their sales interfaces operated by a central background system and for the monitoring to also take place online. Ticket offices at the stations, postal railway ticket purchase accounts, partner ticket offices (e.g. travel agencies), on-board purchases, and the MÁV application are already operating on this background system, but the railway company would like to add their ticket vending machines and their online webshop to the system this year.

The next milestone of the renewal process at MÁV in 2020 is that the previous ticket purchase interface on the website, introduced in 2008, will be completely renewed.

Following the option to buy domestic tickets, you will be able to purchase international tickets, and it will be possible to buy passes online by the end of the year. According to the plans, customers will also receive the ticket in PDF format from the app, and vice versa, the tickets purchased online will also be loaded onto the account of the registered user in the application.

Why is this complex development worth it for MÁV?

Directing passengers to digital platforms appears to be profitable according to the numbers. In one year, from 2018 to 2019, the number of tickets sold in the application increased by more than 3.7 million and reached 4.6 million, and there are already nearly 300,000 registered users. Since the introduction of pass purchase in December 2019, the number of customers buying their passes electronically has also been steadily increasing, with passengers preferring pass products linked to the electronic ID card (their rate is around 10%). The number of application users increased by 3−500 per day this year − in the period before the restrictions on movement – and they bought an average of 20,000 tickets and passes online per day.

The goal of 2021 has already been determined at MÁV: the application should be represented among the electronic platforms for ticket purchase with 60%.

MÁV also supports electronic ticket purchase by providing various discounts to customers. In the case of some trains, it is possible to buy tickets 20% cheaper compared to offline options − ticket office, ticket vending machine − besides the standard 10% discount.

Avoiding and minimising direct contact will probably remain a goal in the future as well, and the issue of ticket control will not be a problem because ticket inspectors will always “manage” our tickets and passes with a mobile device. The railway company is also at the forefront considering the fact that it is prepared to sell the products of all public transport sectors. This way, it is able to sell tickets and control the entire public transport service electronically and without any contact. MÁV, HÉV, GySEV, BKK, and Volánbusz tickets and passes can already be purchased online, providing a comfortable and – from the perspective of health protection − safe travel.

Concerning the state of emergency and the restrictions on movement due to the coronavirus pandemic, MÁV asks its passengers to only leave their homes if it is absolutely necessary. The protection of our health is now a priority.

By Nóra Csécsei


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