It’s a well known fact that tourists are getting scammed all over the world, not at the very least by taxi drivers. Finding a good, reliable taxi is hard sometimes (not only in Bucharest, believe me), but it can be done. You just have to stick to a few simple rules.
First of all you have to remember that there are two kinds of taxi’s: good ones and bad ones. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well if it would be that easy I wouldn’t be telling you this in the first place. So here goes: the good and trusted companies are the ones that have phone numbers displayed on their cars, as well as a logo of the company they work for. They display the price per km very clearly. Unfortunately these logo’s and phone number can be easily copied and put on other, independent (expensive) taxi’s, so there’s really no use to paying attention to that.
Also you get advised to ‘be strong’ with the driver if you don’t want to get ripped off (believe me, I have been told this.), but who’s to say that will work? Taxi drivers have become pro’s at overcharging and sometimes even threatening their passengers, so don’t expect that they will drop all that just because you were ‘strong.’ I have heard stories of Romanian taxi drivers who charged 500 lei (€112) instead of 5 (€1.12). Especially the people who are new to the Romanian currency (LEI or RON) can be easily tricked this way.
How to safely use a taxi in Bucharest
When you arrive at the airport of Bucharest they have special machines in the arrivals hall where you can choose a taxi company by their price and demand them to come and pick you up. The machine will give out a voucher with the number (or Taxi ID) of your taxi on it. Then you go outside and wait for it to come (this goes really fast!). DON”T get into another taxi. Stick to the one that is similar to the number on your voucher. You can find the number at the side of the car or the front of the window. These machines are now also placed at the train station, as this is a place where many tourists where ripped off in the past.
If you’re at a place where you can’t demand a taxi to come, ask your hotel or the bar/ restaurant that you’re at to call you a taxi. Every Romanian person will understand and they will certainly not make a fuss about it. Hotels, bars and restaurants work with reliable taxi companies, so there should be no problem.
If it’s not possible for some reason to make a taxi reservation by a hotel then make sure that you NEVER pay more than 1.69 LEI per km. The company should have displayed one tarif only. Also taxi’s by the name of Taxi Bucuresti or Taxi Arsenal tend to be way more expensive than the other ones. Whatever you do, don’t get inside any taxi near Gara de Nord, Old Town, Piata Unrii and the other big touristic places. It’s better to wait a little longer and save your precious money.
Do you use taxi’s on your journey? Let me know by leaving a comment!