On Wednesday, a small delegation of passengers handed over a list of demands at the centre of MÁV (State Railways of Hungary) in the morning. In the petition, they express their grievance about the regular delays and lack of information provided in such cases, with regards to the Budapest-Cegléd-Szolnok line and others in the agglomeration of Budapest. If MÁV does not implement changes, they will resolve to demonstrations.
The protesters have sent their petition to index.hu (news portal), which reveals that they are regular railway passengers and go to work by train. They represent several Facebook groups, including thousands of passengers. In the last few months, they experienced a decline in the quality of service. Such a significant decline, in fact, that they have to take steps for the passengers in the agglomeration of Budapest.
On the line of Nyugati-Cegléd-Szolnok (100a), delays (around 20-60 minutes long) and cancellations occur far more frequently than usual, ever since May. Those who go to work in the morning have to catch trains coming earlier to get to their workplace on time. The delays are not only 5-10 minutes. On the line between Nyugati and Monor, the journey is supposed to take only 34 minutes, but every second day it collects another 34 minutes at least by each delay.
Delays of 10-15 minutes are considered to be “okay.”
The positions of many workers are threatened in their jobs because if they leave earlier, they cannot take their kids to school. Coming home is likewise a serious problem because kindergartens and schools often close by the time the parents make it there – this causes even more conflicts according to the protesters.
Besides the delays, the passengers came up with other complaints as well:
“Associates of MÁV are completely ignorant. Moreover, they get upset if you dare ask them something because not even they can know everything, they say (in practice, they never know anything). We have no idea why they behave like this because those who wear the uniform of the company represent it in a way and are responsible for the operation even with their behaviour. At stations from where the trains depart, there is misinformation all the time – the announcer cannot be heard, and after getting on the train, ticket inspectors never inform the passengers about the expected time of departure and other circumstances.”
Another problem is, that there is no air conditioning on the trains. On trains that are often stranded under the sun until their departure, there are full-glass windows that cannot be opened, and during the summer, it is 40°C hot in the afternoon. They do not hand out water or give you a chance to cool down the air, but they warn you through the announcer to prepare for your journey with enough water. Considering the time of delays, it could be 2-3 litres.
The press department of MÁV reacted to the petition, and they say that 6 billion HUF is invested in renewing the critical part of the railway line between Nyugati Railway Station and Kőbánya-Kispest. Besides, double-decker trains, called “KISS,” are almost ready on the lines, and they will be more reliable than the overused trains, and their capacity will also be bigger. Apart from these, there is going to be a residential forum in which the passengers will be informed appropriately about all the innovations – promises the railway company.
According to many passengers, this is not enough though. The new trains are going to be launched in inappropriate circumstances because the top wires are dysfunctional and the interlocking system breaks down all the time.
This way, the company would only achieve to have twice as many people waiting on the line in double-decker trains.
Overall, renewals and replacement of the equipment and devices are needed to ensure transport in both directions on the lines in question.
They also added: instead of meaningless answers, an effective compensation system is needed because of the delays, and not only in intercity trains, because the majority of people go to work from the agglomeration to Budapest. Making things functional has to be in the interest of the operator. They must suffer the financial consequences of the bad operation.
To inform the passengers appropriately, ticket inspectors should be given the same information as traffic management to be able to transmit it to the passengers and answer the questions. Announcement devices and loudspeakers should be replaced, and all the information announced should be shown on the screens inside the trains – especially in extraordinary cases. If the travel circumstances do not improve, demonstrations will follow – state the passengers at the end of their petition.
Update – MÁV takes the petition seriously
The press department of MÁV announced that the petition has been taken by Zsolt Völgyesi, who is responsible for the 6 billion HUF renewal investment. This indicates that they pay attention to the passengers’ demands and opinion. They say that on line 100, there is another problem: MÁV-Start has to give up on many obsolete trains, and there is a huge deficit in the number of railway carriages. The new double-decker trains of KISS will arrive soon with more capacity and reliable operation – they are a good solution for both problems. A residential forum will be held where they will be introduced to the passengers.