Taxi in Bucharest: Tips and Tricks
How much it costs, where to order them, how not to get tricked?
If you are reading this, it means you are thinking of saying ‘no’ to public transport and opting for the quicker way to get somewhere in the big city.
To find a taxi is usually very easy (unless you need one at rush hour, in which case be prepared to have a lot of patience and pray for some luck): they are almost everyhwre, especially around the center, and easy to spot since they are all yellow.
Now, you have two options: either go looking on the street for a taxi or order one by phone or by smartphone app. The app that features the largest number of taxi company and works well is: Star Taxi. Should you already be a client of Uber, then go for it; the have some the friendliest drivers in Bucharest. But you will need internet for this.
If you don’t have internet, but can make phone calls, these are the recommended taxi companies: Meridian, CrisTaxi, Speed Taxi, Taxi Cobalcescu or Taxi Titan (look at the bottom for the phone numbers).
The tariff per km is 1.39 lei for most large companies, but some may also practice tariffs above this mark. However, you shouldn’t pay more than 2 lei/km in Bucharest. There are some taxis who charge 3.5 lei/km, but be very careful with them, since some of them have been found guilty of tampering with the taxometer and charging much more (even 5 times more than it’s worth). Yes, they are the pirate taxis. Our advice: if you see one, don’t get in.
Another important advice: always check the tariff which is displayed clearly on the side door and note that there is no night tariff in Bucharest for regular taxi companies. Besides this, make sure you see the logo of the company and the phone number.
After getting in the car, check that the meter is working. If you don’t spot it, tell the driver to start it (all drivers understand at least that bit of English, don’t worry). If the driver doesn’t do so, the best advice is to get off, unless you feel like starting an argument with the driver, but you never know how that might end up; so it’s best to avoid this.
The time most visitors need a taxi is at the airport and this is for most the time when it’s hardest to find one. Once you picked up your luggage and head for the exit, on the left side, in the big room where people are waiting to greet their friends, family etc, there are 2 yellow taxi machines.
You order in a simple manner a taxi, but depending on the number of people who have done the same, it may taken a couple of minutes or much longer. During busy hours, when many flights land, there is a queue of 30 people waiting at the machines.
In this case you can do three things: take the bus (780 or 783, as adviced here) from the ground level, wait in line or head for the Departures wing. This other wing is connected by a corridor to the Arrivals, so you need not leave the building at all and it takes you less than 5 minutes to get there. Remember that the Bucharest International Airport is quite small.
Once you are at Departures, go outside and you wait for a taxi who is bringing another person to show up, unpack that person’s luggage and then address him. However, please that note of the advice above as regards the use of meter, tariff and taxi company.
A trip by taxi at the 1.39 lei/km from the airport to the city center costs between 35 – 50 lei, depending on the traffic and the distance, of course. Short trips by taxi through the city, especially in the central area, should not exceed 20 lei. If a fare costs less than 10 lei according to the meter, it is best to give the driver 10 lei – most locals do this, making this an unofficial ‘tradition’. Many drivers refuse to take passengers on very short distances because they earn too little and have difficulties surpassing their daily minimum.
Lastly, if you are satisified with the ride, tip the driver. This is another well known fact in Romania – one must tip the driver (unless you are very upset over the driver’s services). Never expect to receive change in coins. The prices are always rounded in favor of the driver.
For example if the fare cost 11.30 lei and you give him 12 lei, there will be no change. The coins are of little value in Romania and in services they are never given or received; you can use the coins in supermarkets and stores. 10% is the norm when tipping a taxi driver or the personnel in restaurants or simply round the figure a bit.
Travelling by taxi in Bucharest has been getting safer in the last years, but unfortunately there are still some rotten apples out there. If you want to be safe, either go only with the companies listed below or call the taxi – by phone or app.
Cristaxi +40 21 9455 / +40 21 9466
Meridian Taxi +40 21 9444 / +40 21 9888
National Taxi +40 21 9484
Speed Taxi +40 21 9477 / +40 21 9488
Taxi D’Artex +40 21 9595 / +40 21 9630
Taxi Titan +40 21 9661
Taxi Cobalcescu +40 21 9451