Let’s get this straight: There are good taxi companies in Sofia. O.K. Taxi and 91119, just to name these two examples, are mostly reliable and most of their cars are good, when we consider where we are. Period. Some are even new.
Now to the big “but”: There are quite a few issues with taxis in this country.
Problem no. 1: Corruption instead of legal certainty
The first big issue has to do with the rampant corruption and the lack of legal certainty in this country. In Sofia, impostors have been using the “O.K. Taxi” logo, in several variations (see example in photo above), for a long time. Their prey: business travellers and tourists. At Sofia Airport, those mafia taxis are circling in front of Terminal 2, until they find someone unfamiliar with the situation here. The victim will be charged up to 10 times the usual amount for a trip to the city centre.
The main problem here: Nobody stops the impostors. Due to the corruption, they have been getting away with their strategy for a long time. This hurts those who fall for them, but also the real “O.K. Taxi” company. Even Bulgarians or expats with a lot of experience fall for them at times, since the taxi mafia comes up with new ideas all the time.
Problem no. 2: Prices too low
In Sofia, the usual price of 0.79 Leva a kilometre is too low. Law-abiding drivers have to work 12 hours a day or longer, in order to make what is regarded as a decent living in Bulgaria. Therefore, the motivation to cheat passengers is quite high.
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(Photo via foreignersandfriends.com)