This has to be one of the thorniest topics of the last 25 years. From the early years of post-Communism when anyone could turn their private car into a taxi overnight, calculating an approximate fare in their head, to the present day when taxis must be painted a uniform yellow (apart from the green ones!) and display the driver's number and details, the same complaints of people being massively ripped off by frankly scary taxi drivers abound.
Nowadays each city council licences local taxi companies and imposes minimum and maximum day and night time fares, which have to be posted clearly in the side and front window. This was introduced some years ago to combat those clever sods who posted taxi fares ten times the normal going rate, obscuring the decimal point so it wasn't till you came to pay you realised you had been legally cheated. Besides that the driver's details, including a photo and his number, have to be posted on the dashboard, enabling you to make a complaint if you are unhappy.
Daytime fares are around 80-90 stotinki per kilometer and nighttime around 90 stotinki to one lev. There's a small initial fee and call out fee, both under a lev.
Recent stories include drivers refusing to let you have your luggage until you pay the inflated bill. We have once or twice tested the complaints procedure and have had no joy.
Smoking is still a problem. Even though smoking in public places was banned several years ago many taxi drivers still smoke in their cars and may not put the fag out until you ask. Even if they do, the car of course will stink of cigarette smoke.
Other issues include loud music, a dirty car, missing seatbelts in the back and no room in the boot for your suitcase.
We obviously can't name the dodgy taxi companies or they'll sue us for libel so here are some of those we feel are okay and by okay we mean you may come across some or all of the above problems but at least you shouldn't get ripped off. OK Supertrans: www. oktaxi.net, tel: + 359 2 973 2121 Yes Yellow: www.yellow333.com, tel: +359 2 91119 Green Taxi (hybrid cars): www.greentaxi.bg, tel: +359 2 810 810
Only OK Taxi is authorised to offer taxis at Sofia airport and has offices at both terminals where you can book your taxi, but despite that Terminal 2 in particular still has a problem with kerb crawlers picking up unsuspecting tourists. Do make sure you get into an OK Taxi. The journey to the centre in a taxi costs between 10-15 leva.
This App works with a variety of drivers from different companies and is available in English as well as Bulgarian. You select your destination and are assigned a driver. You can see the car approach on the screen, with the driver’s name and license plate displayed for extra security. Since you are shown the cost in advance it is less likely that you will be overcharged.
Other taxi apps to try are: TaxiMaxim, TaxiStar and YellowTaxi.