Starting September 1, 2013 the system of taxi regulation is in effect in Budapest; all taxis must be painted yellow, all must have a standardized meter and rates, all must have a lighted TAXI sign on their roof to show when they are available. They are no longer able to charge flat rates and always must work off the meter with a standard fare of 450 Forints to start and 280 per additional km of driving, 70 per waiting time minute.

Taxi Option 1: There is an « official » taxi company, Fö Taxi.

They have a booth inside the terminal, and will get you to the city center for about 6000-8000 HUF (€22-30 depending on exchange rate and distance). They used to charge a flat rate, but the September 1, 2013 changes prohibit that, so in theory they will only be able to charge exactly the same rate as any other company.

They have the official contract with the airport, and are a convenient, reliable way into the city center.

‘Official’ means they pay the airport for the privilege and it means that the airport not only gives them a booth within the terminal but also fights to discourage other taxi companies from working at the airport. There are taxis available, even late at night; they can make arrangements for larger cars if your group is more than 4 (at a higher price). The airport is small and manageable, and the taxis are immediately outside the door as you walk to the curb. No need to book in advance.

Fö accepts Forints, credit cards, and most major currencies, but its exchange rates for foreign currency can be very unfavorable (less because they are deliberately trying to cheat than because the rates fluctuate a lot and the company changes its exchange rate infrequently). In general, it is least costly to pay for the taxi in Forints.

Because Fö pays for the privilege to be the official taxi at the airport, its costs of doing business are higher than those of the other cab companies. You can, as a result, save a (very) few Euros by booking with another reputable company:

Taxi Option 2: Arrange with another reliable taxi company to meet you at the airport. Most taxi companies will do it, and several have English speaking dispatchers, reliable taxis and good drivers by and large. There is ample discussion in the Budapest Forum about taxis in Budapest generally. With the new law, all taxis must charge the identical rate for the identical ride.

Taxi Option 3: Arrange with a Specific Airport Transfer Service to meet you inside or outside, as you exit the secure area, with a sign with your name on it. If you have a particular desire to be met by a driver on arrival, or want a specific kind of car, or have special individual needs like a baby seat or wheelchair, you may want to book in advance with a specific airport transfer service or driver. Again, there are new regulations that regulate as well this sector of the business, but because these cars do not have to be specially marked it may be more difficult to know whether the car has been officially registered as a transfer company; if you book with such a company or driver, be certain that the driver you go with is the one you booked with and not an unregulated driver soliciting passengers as they exit. Moreover, unlike cities like NYC or London, there are no real ‘airport transfer services’ in Budapest, in the sense of large fleets like the taxi fleets, with central offices, English-speaking staff available immediately, and dispatchers; there are just just brokers who book individual drivers and individual drivers seeking to establish a more professional presentation than the independent drivers accosting arriving passengers in the terminal.