If you are for the first time in Bucharest with business or something else, or you are living there for a while, but you still do not know Romanian language enough, to find all information that you need – here is what you should know about a Taxi Cab in Bucharest.

In this metropolis, the are some enshrined taxi companies, to mention just a few: Cobalcescu, Meridian, 2000, Speed, As, Leone, Cristaxi and more. The most used price is 1.39-1.40RON/KM (approximately 0.4USD/0.62 Miles) with a fare stationing of 13.9-14RON/Hour (approximately 3.97USD).

Meridian                      Cobalcescu                   Speed

More other taxi companies offer a price of 3.5RON/KM (approximately 0.99USD/0.62 Miles), but when it comes to the same type of car as those with the frequent price of 1.39-1.40RON/KM there is not a logical reason to pay more for the same service provided… If the things were such simple… this article would not had sense… To learn more and to be protected, you need to read more from these comprehensive analyses. So you will understand how some things, far from being normal, unfortunately will help people with negative intentions to perform activities at their will, activities that, in principle, are opposed to the legislation…

Romania and the taxi law are exceeded, as many other things… The price was set three years ago, when the fuel price was 3RON/L (approximately 0.85USD/0.264 US Gallons). In present is 6.10-6.45RON/L (approximately 1,73-1.83USD/0,264US Gallons)… While the taxi companies keep the same earnings, the taxi drivers support the difference in cost…

Another thing – Taxi licenses are granted according to the number of inhabitants of the city. For Bucharest the maximum number seems to be somewhere at 6000 taxi licenses… Even this law mention that the taxi license performs that taxi activity ONLY within the locality where it has been authorized. Nevertheless, from a lack of clarity due perhaps some political interests and because the city is an important point of interest, other taxi companies from Ilfov (a county around Bucharest) performs the same taxi activity in town. Dozens of small localities of this county generate much more than just 6000 licenses (even as Ilfov licenses)…

In addition, another… due of a lack in legislation, pirates of taxi performs this kind of activity with prices 250-500% higher, or even more… Moreover, in all this in-crowded areas like: train stations, hospitals, airport Otopeni, these taxi pirates often are interspersed on a street corner, among regular taxis…

The compulsory elements outside a regular taxi
Taxi Cab - compulsory elements outside a taxi

Therefore, you have to be careful about what taxi cab you choose… Not only for the price – taxis are having so low costs in Bucharest – but from a security reason (those pirates having gumption, may become violent) and from principle: by paying them you encourage, help them grow… And logical: why to pay more from the same service, with the same car (Logan or anything else)?!…

The compulsory elements inside a regular taxi
Taxi - compulsory elements inside of a taxi

By using a taxi from one of the enshrined companies, you can order by phone, online or even through a mobile phone application. When you order a taxi, the fee is not charged on the way to the address you asked. The taxi driver starts the meter only on client indications, or when he gets in the car. As unwritten rule for services (restaurant, hairdresser’s etc.), a plus of 10% from the price of the service is a sign of appreciation and is universal accepted.

Different ways of placing an order online or by mobile phone – Meridian is my preferred
Meridian Taxi - online command or through cell phone

Perhaps you want to make a comparison between the car rental and a taxi service. Usually, a car rental starts from 27-30Euro/day (34.90-38.78USD) with 250-300Euro (323.17-387.80USD) minimum guarantee. In addition, you have to complete the fuel for the purposes kilometers you will want to go through. Stress and nerves in traffic, with the parking places, safety car concern… In the taxi cab, you have the time for other occupations, anything else than traffic.

Even for long distances, between localities, a taxi can help you. If you order one by phone or online you have to mention: “rovinieta” (national road tax). In the taxi law it is specified: the taxi driver must lead the customer to his desired destination in the perimeter of town licensing (Bucharest) – thing extended for this city until the first locality outside the city – . Occasionally, can be done runs between the town licensing and other locations or points of interest, but only at the express request of the customer and with the accord of the taxi driver. After this run, the taxi driver is obliged to return to the town where he has authorization, after serving that travel.

Lamp indications for a taxi cab free or taken
Taxi lamp - taken                                 Taxi lamp - free

In fact, if you need a taxi for long distances, you can think to one of these two possibilities:

  • You run with that taxi with the meter open. At the destination, you need to pay for its return (the taxi driver is not allowed to provide a taxi service outside the city that gave him license), which is twice of the amount of the bill. In this case, the taxi driver is risking fine as illegal taxi service through every village going through, from a too zealous policeman. He cannot prove the client’s request and command that he executes really…
  • The most used method: instead of paying 1.39-1.40RON/KM (approximately 0.4USD/0.62 Miles), you pay him just 1RON/KM (approximately 0.28USD/0.62 Miles) per distance round trip, easy to find exactly with a GPS. In this case, the taxi driver (he knows what he has to do) will disassemble the lamp taxi, the meter and the radio station with antenna, and will execute your taxi command in a private regime. This is a method that does not break any taxi law and is more profitable for you, as a client.

A particular place is the airport Otopeni (Henri Coanda). The last amendment to the law taxi, which was held in Parliament, it specifies that Otopeni airport cannot conclude preferential contracts of exclusivity with one or another taxi companies. The taxi service can be performed by any operator who has license issued by the authorities of Bucharest Municipality and the Ilfov county.

However, airport Otopeni, by taking advantage of the other side of the taxi law, introduced the term of permits of identification and access issued by the airport administration. They mention that access permits will be free(‼). So “free”, as at present, at the arrivals terminal, only few small firms with cars with the price stated at 3.5RON/KM (approximately 0.99USD) have received the permission to wait for clients – none of the old, dedicated taxi companies – perhaps the only one airport in the world where this situation occurs…

The possibility to reach a regular taxi from departures (photo source: ziaresireviste.ro)
Aeroport Otopeni - Departures

So, the place arranged for a taxi waiting at arrivals remained the same place of negotiations on prices exorbitant for transport with pseudo-taxis (many of these having any other color than yellow – which is required for a taxi cab); the place with people with dubious faces, with more gumption, more speech texts… Here (and unfortunately in many other places) occurs some distinctive signs to distinguish a real taxi driver by a pseudo taxi driver. The taxi law does not allow taxi drivers to deal with clients. He has to wait in car a sign or an order form from client. All those who come taking your luggage, waiting outside the car, with the trunk up and calls you for his car – will be anything else than a regular taxi driver‼

The possibility to reach a regular taxi from arrivals (photo source: Cotidianul)
Aeroport Otopeni - arrivals

Regular taxis have not specified a place for a normal situation when the client performs a command. The method used by taxi drivers and the old clients is to walk until the area of former clock, which is on the oval between the two roundabouts on the access way. Here the taxis can run and can stop only when a customer requests. It is a place where you have to keep the same close attention to what kind of taxi you get in – for your safety pick only a taxi cab of a known, dedicated company, or perform a command through your mobile phone or online.

The common aversion of the authorities to regular taxis at the airport Otopeni

Another thing to keep in mind: As I mentioned already, in city, when you call a taxi cab, a fee is not charged until the address you asked. When you call a taxi (by mobile phone or online) and it gives you, let’s say, 5-7 minutes, he may come from Baneasa. The distance just between airport Baneasa (the limit of the Bucharest city) and airport Otopeni is nearly of 10Km (approximately 6.21Miles), which can make close at 15RON (approximately 4.25USD)… Legislation failed to consider a movement on order on the free 1-2KM in the city, compared to one in 7-10km outside the city or even more… The costs for fuel are out of pocket of the taxi driver… So, an unwritten rule – if you will pay 10RON (approximately 2.83USD) more than the amount shown by the meter, it is fair and profitable for both…

Without the right knowledge, the things and some new places could create confusion for anyone. I hope these were helpful advices to help you understand better the new things and to be in touch with reasonable people and old, established companies. Good luck in all you do!

Update on 2013.02.15

The initiative of the actual Minister of Transports, Relu Fenechiu, has been put into practice starting from Monday, 2013.02.08, 8:00 PM, on the international arrivals area at the Otopeni Airport. A positive intention determined by the pressure of overwhelming complaints or by the media; or something that would be true from the rumor of a kind of political revenge, so a rumor circulates… – the fact is that now it uses a system more closer to normal. The doubtful system which operated there (for 20 years maybe) was finally broken (to see for how long)…

A client can place an order by phone, through an application, on-line or else, then their ordered taxi will arrive up, at the arrivals terminal output. Just one thing slightly difficult – after that command, the client will have to obtain a confirmation of from one of the two desks/offices located in the arrivals hall. This is the rule of confirmation implemented by the airport, which the ordered taxi is allowed to pass the barrier and to and access the international arrivals terminal (practically in front of the exit doors from the arrivals hall). In that place does not station no other car than an ordered taxi.

Another good thing – there were implemented several applications for smartphones, to name just a few: Clever Taxi (by Orange), Taxi Beet (from I.M. World), Star Taxi (by SC FDSV Online SRL) and so on. The specific features of these applications is that these avoid the unwieldy protocol, time and nerves consuming, of the dispatcher. Within 15 seconds you will have a taxi coming towards you. The same time you will have an increased interaction directly with the taxi driver.

Star Taxi Star Taxi has proven to be the most performant, qualitative, effective. It offers the option to call a taxi from any company; to choose what driver, company, price you prefer; chat with or call the driver if your address have something specific or so; you can see the position of that taxi coming to you, on map, in real time; You can give a feedback or rating to the driver at the end of that race; perhaps it is not insignificant, the possibility of free internet through wi-fi, during the travel by taxi…

In the left side you can see the video presentation released by Antena 1, on 2012.10.22, approximately one month after the launch of the application. Now Star Taxi has been implemented in other cities, such as Brasov, Iasi, Timisoara and for sure more soon… There’s also a negative side… directors of some big companies (As, Meridian, Speed Taxi…) do not agree it, they seem to have problems in accepting new technology, quality, or maybe they have just too much egos… However, you will find taxis and of these firms… Many taxi drivers have understood that do not use this application, it is a big loss for them.

Update on 2016.04.09

The new rule implemented by Otopeni Airport from April 1-st, 2016, (the local mafia goes even over the existing law…) brought me an indirect service in the same time – bringing to the forefront an older article, which was – at that time – a guide for foreigners who come in this airport… 🙂 – statement posted for the first time in my Facebook Page.

Maybe I should have drop here, possibly with a trace of humor, a pamphlet movie that captures the main bad habits of the profession of taxi driver in Bucharest… Enjoy!

Primul Meu Taximetrist (My first taxi driver)





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