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Free public transport for jobseekers in Budapest

The motion of Mayor Gergely Karacsony has been unanimously approved by city councillors

  • December 31, 2019 10:00
  • Author Plamen Petrov
Medium budapest transport

From New Year's Day Budapest jobseekers will travel on the Hungarian capital's public transport system free of charge. This concession, which is expected to facilitate the job seeking mobility of unemployed residents without destroying their budget, is in line with a decision by the municipal council's General Assembly.

Earlier this month the councillors unanimously approved Mayor Gergely Karacsony’s motion to allow registered jobseekers holding a Budapest address to travel on local public transport for free.

A new certificate has been introduced to prove eligibility for the free pass. The travel card is available at selected sales outlets of the Centre for Budapest Transport (BKK).

Turning Budapest into a socially just city

The mayor’s Christmas present to jobseekers cannot be considered a superficially populist move, as turning Budapest into a socially just city has been one of the pillars of Gergely Karacsony’s election platform. This concern struck a chord with Budapest residents, resonating in a convincing victory for the opposition candidate in the October 13th municipal elections with more than 50% of the vote.

Gergely Karacsony’s priorities during his first year in office include strengthening the social safety net for low-income families, diverting more public money to homeless shelters and improving public transport. The 44-year-old mayor has also promised to increase Budapest’s green areas and combat city pollution (he cycles to work to set an example).

Unemployment at record low

Throughout 2019 the unemployment rate in Hungary has stayed at a record low of 3.5 percent compared to 12 percent in 2010, according to data provided by the Central Statistical Office. This led Minister of Finance Mihaly Varga to state that Hungary's unemployment rate was the fourth lowest in the whole European Union.

According to administrative data of the National Employment Service, the total number of registered jobseekers decreased by 2% to 239,000 at the end of October 2019. 32 percent of unemployed people in Hungary, however, had been searching for a job for a year or more.

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