Those who have travelled on Hungarian trains would have surely seen some features badly in need of improvement. Efforts by Hungarian State Railways (MÁV), however, are not entirely fruitless. 20 percent of Hungarians, and 35 percent of those who travel regularly by train said that in the past year their views on MÁV had improved. A public survey by Nézőpont Intézet offers both good and not so good news.

Train travel plays an important role in people’s lives. 18 percent of adult Hungarians (1.4 million) said they travelled by train at least once a month, and another 30 percent said that they also used trains but less frequently. One in two Hungarians (48 percent) travelled by train last year. Thus, the railway and its services are considered essential by at least 4 million adult Hungarians every year.

The good news for MÁV is that more people are satisfied with the trains and related services than last year. In one year, one-fifth of all Hungarians (20 percent) have improved their opinions of MÁV; the opinions of one-tenth (10 percent) have become worse; and the rest of the respondents have not seen any changes. However, the picture is more favorable among those who regularly use the company’s services: one-third (35 percent or about half a million Hungarians) say that their opinion of MÁV has improved and less than half say that their opinion of it has got worse.

The improved opinions may be due to an increase in satisfaction with the services. 41 percent of all respondents and 69 percent of those travelling by train regularly say they are “more satisfied overall” with MÁV services, while 15 and 30 percent, respectively, say the opposite. Interestingly, young adults (under 40) have a particularly good opinion on rail services. Overall, 51 percent of the new generation are satisfied, while only 37 percent of the 60+ age group agree with them.

The success of one or two services may be behind the improved data. A high percentage of all respondents and those who travel by train regularly are satisfied with ticketing options (74 and 82 percent, respectively), the competence and customer service skills of MÁV staff (74 and 84 percent, respectively) and timetable information (72 and 82 percent, respectively). The MÁV app and the summer online ticket purchase option can thus be one of the reasons for young people’s satisfaction. One third of all regular train travelers (34 percent) buy their tickets using the innovation, and 86 percent of all online ticket buyers are satisfied with the service.

However, along with the good news, there are some warnings, too. Although 55 percent of all adults, and 60 percent of those travelling by train regularly are satisfied with the punctuality and reliability of Hungarian trains, 31 and 39 percent, respectively, are not. Another problematic area is the condition and cleanliness of the stations. Although 47 percent of all respondents and 51 percent of those travelling by train regularly say they are satisfied with both, almost the same proportion of respondents (40 and 47 percent, respectively) are dissatisfied. The maintenance program “50 Refurbished Stations”, therefore, aims to fix an important area, even though only a quarter of all respondents have heard of it.


Nézőpont Intézet survey conducted 9-14 November 2019 using telephone interviews with 1,000 respondents. The sample is representative of the 18+ population by gender, age, region, settlement type and education level. A sample of 1,000 at 95 percent accuracy has an error of margin of 3.16 percent.

Cover source: MTI