Ridiculously low taxi fares in Bulgaria and Romania

Written by on September 29, 2017 in Business - Comments Off on Ridiculously low taxi fares in Bulgaria and Romania

In Hamburg (Germany), taxi passengers pay 2 Euro per kilometer. But there is also a base fee of 3.30 Euro. Therefore, an average taxi ride will seldomly cost less than 15 Euro. Often, it will be a lot more.

Those fares are a little cheaper in Paris, where taxi passengers will be charged around 1.50 Euro per kilometer. A trip from Place de la Bastille to L’Arc de Triomphe might cost around 25 Euro, not so much because of the distance, but rather due to the usual congestion.

And in New York City, passengers in Yellow Cabs pay a base fee amounting to 3.30 Dollars, just for entering the cab, plus 2.50 Dollars per mile.

In comparison, taxi fares in South-Eastern Europe are ridiculously low. In Athens, the fare is 0.74 Euro, which means drivers in Greece charge half of what they colleagues in France collect. Fair enough.

Things are very different in Bulgaria, where taxi fares vary a lot. First of all, quite a share of the market is being controlled by the taxi mafia. These gangsters are not being stopped by the authorities, and they have been cheating both tourists and locals for decades.

Ignoring the taxi mafia for a minute, paints the following picture: In Black sea resorts, during the summer, taxi fares might be 2 to 4 Leva per kilometer. But, outside the summer season, the fare in Varna is 1 Lev or 0.51 Euro, in Burgas 0.90 Leva or 0.46 Euro, and in Sofia it is mostly 0.79 Leva or 0.40 Euro, while the night fare is 0.90 Leva. This is what O.K. Taxi and Yellow, the largest companies, charge.

An O.K. Taxi at Sofia Airport. Photo by O.K. Taxi.

A cab driver in Bulgaria, who owns the vehicle he is using, needs to work at least 12 to 14 hours a day to make ends meet somehow. At the end of the month, he will not be rich, but he will have paid his expenses and some of his bills.

In Romania, fares are even lower and, apart from the fact that taxi drivers have to work around the clock as well, in order to be able to make a living, some aspects are generally different. First of all, the Romanian authorities are starting to fight the taxi mafia.

The other day, 100 taxis and their drivers at Henri Coanda International Airport in Bucharest, and also at airports in other cities, were checked by police. After checking 97 taxis, they found 48 contraventions, according to the publication Stirile Pro TV. Drivers were fined, one license suspended and illegal taxis were taken off the streets.

Another big difference is that taxi drivers and companies in Bucharest are under pressure, since Uber and similar services are spreading.

For eight years, the large taxi companies in the Romanian capital have been charging 1.39 RON, the equivalent of 0.30 Euro per kilometer, which is close to nothing. This Sunday, October 1st, 2017, the two largest companies, Cristaxi and Speed, will increase the fares to 1.69 RON or 0.37 Euro, Evenimentul Zilei reports.

In Bucharest, they also offer what they consider luxury taxis, for fares comparable with those in Greece. For passengers who want to be driven in a Mercedes (no matter how old the vehicle might be), the price will be 3,49 RON or 0.76 Euro per kilometer.

In order to bypass the taxi mafia in Bulgaria or Romania, calling the large companies is the best option. Just stopping cabs on the street is not good enough anymore, at least in Bulgaria, even for experts. That is because the taxi mafia’s vehicles now look exactly the same as the originals, including every single detail.

Photo on top of the page (not visible on small devices) by Cristaxi

 

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About the Author

Imanuel Marcus is Associate Editor of The Sofia Globe. He is German and lives in Sofia. Contact: imanuelmarcus (at) gmail.com