We’ve all been there: pressed up against someone’s sweaty armpit, windows steaming up as more people crowd onto the train… Metro trains during the summer can feel more like a sauna than public transport. Well, eight members of a Hungarian political party decided to treat the Budapest underground as exactly that — and took the metro dressed in towels, bathrobes, and flip-flops.
But there was a bit more behind their actions than just trying to cool down in the heat. The members of Párbeszéd Magyarországért (Dialogue for Hungary), a green, pro-European political party, were making a point about the lack of infrastructure needed to ventilate the Budapest metro. According to the activists, temperatures inside the metro sometimes hit more than 30 degrees Celsius, which can be dangerous for older people or pregnant women. On their cardboard signs, they’ve written slogans like, “The metro is not a sauna!”
The group had one demand: that Istvan Tarlos, the mayor of Budapest, resign. They accuse him of having built the metro system in the capital without taking into consideration ventilation, drainage when there is flooding, or heavy snow.
Critics have already said that the busy line 3 is “life-threatening”, and in December 2016, another political party put up posters in the metro with the mayor’s private telephone number, encouraging residents to put it to good use by calling him or sending him texts to pile the pressure on.