Bulgarian authorities have issued dozens of fines ranging from 200 to 500 leva (about 102 to 255 euro) to taxi drivers at various places at the Black Sea after finding various violations of the rules.
The State Agency for Metrology and Technical Surveillance (SAMTS) carried out the large-scale checks, prompted in the main by a report in German-language Bild about customers being defrauded by taxi drivers at Varna Airport.
The checks, done jointly with motor vehicle administration authorities in Varna, have been continuing for more than a month, following an order by Economy Minister Bozhidar Loukarski.
Inspectors focused on taxi services from Varna Airport to the Golden Sands and Saints Konstantin and Elena resorts.
Some of the checks were done by inspectors hiring taxis incognito.
Abuses found included the use of a “pump” device to accelerate readings on the taxi meter. A separate cause found a faulty technical apparatus that inflated fares by 19 per cent. Apart from being fined, the drivers were issued formal orders to stop the use of the equipment to defraud passengers.
Another offence was providing taxi services without the legally-required signage on the car, with the meter switched off and the price agreed orally at the start of the journey.
SAMTS said that in one case, at the resort of Sveti Vlas, the inspectors posing as customers had been abducted by a taxi driver after he realised who they were. The driver faces charges that, if found guilty, would mean that he would face a fine of up to 300 leva or imprisonment for a year.
The checks were continuing along the Black Sea coast, SAMTS said.