Bulgaria’s motor vehicle administration is to carry out special checks to prevent rip-offs by taxi drivers on New Year’s Eve.
However, officials warned that some unscrupulous drivers were using new technology, along with old tricks, to charge unfair prices.
The motor vehicle administration also was checking the roadworthiness of taxis, reports on December 31 2012 said.
Public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television, which accompanied an inspection team to the taxi ranks near Sofia’s central bus station, said that when the team arrived, the taxi rank began to empty and some drivers even abandoned their cars.
Commonly-used tricks to rip off passengers include not deleting the previous fare from the metre, using needlessly long routes, heading for traffic routes known for high congestion and a special “pump” that manipulates the meter to push up fares.
Motor vehicle administration official Mitko Dimitrov said that modern versions of the “pump” were operated by remote control and the actual devices were difficult to detect. “We have no right to dismantle the car to remove the device,” Dimitrov said.
In 2012, more than 70 000 checks had been carried out and each taxi in Sofia had been checked about three times. Seventy-five vehicles had been impounded for six months for carrying paying passengers without a licence.
Vladimir Vladimirov, head of the motor vehicle administration’s division that checks for criminal activities, said that the confiscation measure had drastically reduced the number of illegal taxis.
He said that every complaint made to the administration would be checked, provided it was not anonymous. Complaints may be made to the agency at 02 940 9400. Agency inspectors will require the passenger’s receipt to use as evidence.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)