Had heard nothing but horror stories about Bucharesti cab drivers but actually had a positive experience. The key is to have your hotel order the cab. You will receive a receipt telling you the taxi company and the cab # that's coming. I'm only used Speed Taxi. Very organized!
First of all, the pictures posted here are very old, some of them even 10 years old, Bucharest doesn't look like this anymore in most of the parts.
As a simple rule to follow with the taxies, use only certified companies, like MERIDIAN TAXI, MONDIAL TAXI, COBALCESCU TAXI, SPEED TAXI, TAXI 2000, CRISTAXI, NEXT, GRANT, CONFORT, D'ARTEX, TAXI LEONE, TAXI PELICANUL, these companies should be everywhere.
Also the price per km is a MAXIMUM of 1.4 RON, no more, not less, do not pay more, there is no need to argue with any taxi drivers, just take another one, look on the doors, if you see more then 1.39 or 1.4, DO NOT TAKE IT
Also, the airport now is all new with new terminals and a really effective system of calling a taxi, there is a desk from where you can make an online order or call, it is very simple and safe.
Other then this, what can i say, have fun!:)
AVOID any yellow taxi that has a price sticker of 3.50 LEI on either side of the front wings. In my two experiences I found the drivers to be con artists and criminals. On both occasions they attempted to charge 60 LEI for a 5km journey.
They will try to trick you by placing pieces of tape across the meter display or turn the meter display round to hide the rip off prices that will be mounting up.
So to stress again AVOID at all costs. Instead stick with a company called speedy taxi's. You'll find their company sticker on the doors of their yellow Dacia taxi's. 1.40 LEI initial cost plus 1.40 LEI per KM. No journey around Bucharest should cost no more than 10 LEI.
Hope this helps.
I arrived mid-afternoon at OTP and exchanged some money at the "money lender" - got 270 for $100 USD (exchange is 295) and went outside to get in queue for a blue MBZ taxi right in front.
Riding to the hotel, there was no meter. Driver was conversational in English.
Near the hotel, I asked, "How much" and he said, 200 (about $67 USD for maybe 20 km) -- I said that was WAY too much. We argued and he tried to push a receipt into my hand for the 200.
Arriving at the hotel, I took my computer case with me and went in and ask the desk manager to come outside. She was NO HELP -- she would not confirm the price was high or low, did not know the distance to the airport, or anything (my associates there said that she was probably intimidated by the criminal aspects of the taxi operators).
I paid him 150, under protest, and took a picture of his license plate (IF 79 W T X) and promised to complain. My hosts there suggested that this is the normal corruption, that the airport and tourism executives support this kind of thing. Needless to say, it left a very poor first impression of Romania, especially compared with my marvelous stays in Budapest and Warsaw. I have no intention of ever returning to Romania -- but I will most definately return to Budapest which is one of the best places I have ever visited (38 countries so far)...
BTW, the taxi back to the airport was 36 RON, not the 150 I paid or the 200 demanded by the taxi driver.
Before our trip to Bucharest we read about the expensive taxi firm, Flytaxi, that has the monopoly at Otopeni and the the various scams that might befall the unwary traveller. We were due to arrive at the airport late at night when the other forms of transport were limited and without local currency. We decided to try and arrange for a taxi online. This proved far easier than we had anticipated. A number of firms advertise and we chose one that was affiliated to a number of tourist authorities and also accepted payment in Euros. The firm, 'TravelMaker', responded promptly and also provided an emergency telephone number that could be used if for any reason the driver was not waiting for us. As it happened Gabriel was waiting for us with our name clearly printed on his placard. He was a careful driver and we were taken to our hotel in the south of the city without delay. He spoke excellent English and provided us with a receipt for the advertised amount, 17 Euros. A little more than some taxi firms perhaps but we at least knew exactly how much we were going to pay. We arranged for the return trip at the same price, it would have been cheaper had we booked the return trip in advance. Gabriel, who was also a licenced guide, provided us with brochures illustrating trips and excursions that his firm also ran. We took advantage of two of these and Gabriel proved to be an efficient and knowledgeable guide. Our trips began promptly and all arrangements were in place for the visits that we made. Our visit to Bucharest was thoroughly enjoyable and informative as a result. I would certainly recommend that others do the same.
How easy it is to be tricked by a taxi driver? On a scale from 1 to 10, I'd say 11 ;) so I thought about writing some tips to help:
1) Choose the yellow cabs (only some at Otopeni Airport have a different colour)
2) Preferably choose a cab driver from best known companies such as Confort Taxi (this is the only one I use)
3) ALWAYS CHECK IF: they have the price written on the front door. For ex: 1,4 RON / km = ~0,4 EURO.
4) The price / km is generally somewhere between 1,2 and 1,7 (the last one for fancy, Grant Taxi).
5) NEVER and by his I mean NEVER take a cab in front of the Gara de Nord (Nord Railway Station). At the airport always go out and take the FLY taxies parked in front of the terminal.
6) Once you're in the taxi, make sure the driver turns on the taxing machine.
Tipping the driver is not a must but we generally give him between 2or 3 extra RON, depending on the length of the trip.
CONFORT TAXI :021 9455
CRISTAXI : 021 9461
Put the seat-belt and you're ready to go.
Have a safe ride. ;)
GRANTTAXI (for a more fashionable ride in a Mercedes) : 021 9433
Due to the fact that we were staying in a hotel that was located 4km south east of the city centre, in an area where walking was not a very attractive proposition, we relied extensively upon taxis during our visit to Bucharest in March 2008.
We tended to travel from our hotel (the Rin Grand Hotel) to Piata Unirii in the city centre, using the latter as our reference point in the city. However, we also undertook taxi journeys from Piata Unirii to various cafes and restaurants and to Herastrau Park in the north of the city.
During the day time, the journey from our hotel to Piata Unirii (a journey which took between 10 and 20 minutes depending on traffic), tended to cost us between 12 and 14 Lei (2.40 – 2.80 GBP), with the fare sometimes rising to around 18 Lei (3.60 GBP) after dark. Most of our journeys within the city cost less than 20 Lei (4 GBP), while our journey to Otopeni Airport at the end of our stay cost 50 Lei (10 GBP).
At any time of day or night, we found a queue of yellow taxis waiting by the side of the road at Piata Unirii. It was a similar situation in Bucharest’s other squares and along the city centre’s major roads. We never had any difficulty at all finding an available taxi – they were plentiful.
I think the most important thing to tell you about Bucharest’s taxis is this:
The fare per kilometre is displayed on the side of each taxi. Having been alerted to this fact, I kept an observant eye out to see what discrepancies existed between different taxi companies – and the differences were quite startling!
Generally, you should have no problem finding a taxi that charges between 1.40 and 1.70 Lei per km. However, I noticed some companies that were charging 3.50 Lei per kilometre and a few that were charging as high as 7.50 Lei/km! To the untrained eye, all of these taxis look remarkably similar – yellow cars displaying phone numbers and company names. Just make sure that you check the fares on the door to avoid jumping into one of the more expensive taxis.
Another point to make is that taxi drivers in Bucharest don’t necessarily know all the restaurants and bars in the city by memory. On one occasion, the driver had to make several phone calls before being able to locate the address of the restaurant that we were looking for, and on another occasion, the driver had to leave the vehicle and seek directions several times despite us having an address for the restaurant we wanted to go to.
We arrived at Bucharest’s Otopeni Airport (also known as Henri Coanda Airport) late in the evening at the start of our visit to the city in March 2008.
We had read about various taxi scams and we are both pretty seasoned travellers, so we weren’t too concerned about tales of the “taxi mafia” operating from the airport.
Our research suggested that a trip from the airport to the centre of the city would likely cost around 50 Lei (10 GBP). Given that it was some time after midnight, and that our hotel was a good 4km south east of the city centre and we had no other way of getting there, the “80 to 90 Lei” that was quoted to us by a taxi driver in the arrivals hall didn’t seem altogether unreasonable. All things considered, I was more than happy to pay that fare – and the driver assured us that he would use his meter.
We had no way to vouch for the authenticity of the guy who had approached us in the airport, but he seemed friendly enough, so we followed him out to the car park where his car was waiting. His car was not one of the usual bright yellow taxis that are ubiquitous in Bucharest, but rather a swish black Mercedes. A few alarm bells were ringing in my mind at this stage, but with an “agreed” fare of 80 – 90 Lei, I wasn’t particularly worried.
The driver loaded our luggage into the boot of his car, and we made ourselves comfortable in the back seats. He started his meter and then, somewhat inexplicably, put the meter into the glove compartment where it couldn’t be seen. A few more alarm bells were ringing now, but we were chatting amicably with the driver (who spoke English fluently) and we set off towards Bucharest.
The journey to our hotel took around 25 - 30 minutes, during which time the driver continued the friendly conversation, pointing out landmarks that we passed en-route. Upon arriving at the hotel, the driver removed the meter from the glove compartment and in turn, I removed a 100 Lei (20 GBP) note from my pocket – with which to pay the fare and a tip for our friendly driver.
However…the meter was showing a fare of 160 Lei (32 GBP)! I reminded the driver that we had “agreed” a fare of 80 – 90 Lei and he pointed out that our hotel was further than he thought. He was, however, prepared to reduce the fare to 140 Lei on the proviso that we were not given a receipt from him. The scam is simple: most business travellers wanting to reclaim their taxi fare through their expenses will need to present a receipt to their employers. Therefore, they are likely to pay the higher fare and reclaim it rather than pay a lower fare and have no proof of payment.
However, we were not business travellers and we couldn’t care less if he didn’t give us a receipt. Furthermore, we were now sitting in the brightly lit car park of our hotel, and the doorman was waiting to open the doors for us. In short, we were in safe territory and we were more than happy to haggle over the fare. I knew that I’d ultimately hand over the 100 Lei, but nevertheless we played out the charade of me offering 80 Lei and the driver demanding 120, me offering 90, him asking for 110 – then we shook hands on 100 Lei and the driver unloaded our bags from the boot.
On the return journey, we caught one of the yellow taxis from Piata Unirii in the city centre. All of these taxis display their rates on the side of the vehicle (usually around 1.40 – 1.60 per km, but look out for private companies that charge 7.50+ Lei/km!). The cost of this journey was a little under 50 Lei.
taxis will gather at main places like train stations and airports, but will also collect at intersections. much easier in bucharest to walk to the nearest intersection and hail a cab, than to try call one!
most cabs will have the lei/km fare written on the door, enabling you to save some money by choosing a cheap one. the average is around 7,000 lei p/km.
unless you have cash to spare, avoid the mercedes taxis which charge around 25,000 lei p/km. plus - locals never use these, you'll stick out!
A few pieces of advice regarding taxis in Bucharest:
- They all should have an oval license on their door, issued by the City Hall
- The price per kilometer should be written on the front door, as well as the price for starting (Ro. pornire)
- They should start the meter immediately when they start, or as soon as you get in the car (whichever happens first)
- In the end they have to give you a receipt indicating the total amount you have to pay
- When you go to the airport (especially to Bucharest Henri Coanda OTP, which is way out of the city), some of them (not TaxiFly, the cars of which are allowed to park there) will ask for "return money"; this happens because of the fact that TaxiFly is the only company allowed to have cars waiting in front of Bucharest OTP Airport; the others have to wait in the parking lot (far from the place where people come out of the terminal) or to simply leave the airport without customers. So this is up to you, and you should settle this with the driver before starting, whether you pay something extra, and if so, how much (10-15 RON should be a maximal amount, if ever).
- In Bucharest there is no "FIFO" rule for taxis. So, if there are 5 cars in a line in front of your hotel, choose the one you prefer, according to the company you want to use the services of, or simply to the driver you sympathize with.
- Tipping is customary, but not compulsory. If you appreciate the service, a 10% tip is enough.
- Have money ready in small bills, to avoid the driver's pretending he does not have change or running across the city to find ATMs and shop attendants to change your big bills.
- According to the law, the driver should not smoke in the car or play manele (turbofolk) when driving with customers. This is not always enforced, but you should know about it.
There are three kinds of taxis in Bucharest:
- Taxis belonging to reputable companies, that charge an average fare per kilometer and use smaller Dacia or, more and more often, Skoda and Renault cars. The companies I would list here are Leone, Cobalcescu, Meridian, CrisTaxi, Rodell, Apolodor, Taxi 2000, Mondial. They will charge about RON 1.40 - 1.90 / km. plus the starting, which is RON 1.00-2.00.
- Taxis belonging to expensive companies, that charge more, have bigger / better cars or simply have the same type of cars with the ones above, but charge more. I would list here Taxi Grand and Fly Taxi. They charge up to RON 3.00 / km., depending to the time of the day / night when you go.
- Taxis that will cheat you. As simple as that, and the ways they will attempt to do so are various. Some of them imitate the logos of reputable companies. Others will write 7.50 RON / km. on their door, with the "7" so narrow that it looks like a 1. Others will simply do something to the meter, so that it indicates more than it should. They will come to you at Bucuresti Nord railway station, saying the subway no longer runs, that they want to go home anyway and will give you a big discount (I have heard this so often that I wonder who it works with), that they know a shortcut, there is no other taxi and they are your last chance on earth. Avoid them. Not being careful here can end with paying even 100 lei for a ride, and the stupid part of is that in some cases this might be legal (if they are licensed to charge RON 7.50 / km. and Buddha knows how much for starting).
You can hail any taxi from the street considering the following:
- there should be an oval plate on the side with a 4 digit number. This indicates the taxi is licensed.
- the taxi fare is stated on the outside of the taxi.
- Check if the counter inside the taxi is set by the taxi driver to the same amount that is stated on the outside of his taxi
- Dacia taxis are much cheaper than Mercedes taxis. The (mostly yellow) Dacia taxis are about 6990 lei per km (around 19 eurocent per km). The Mercedes taxis are about 16990 lei per km (about 44 eurocent per km). It's your choice.
According to VT member Taseq, the prices in 2007 are approx. 1.5 - 2 lei (that's about €0.45 - €0.6) per km.