How to avoid taxi scam in Sofia

Expensive !!!

Regular rates
In general taxi services in Sofia and Bulgaria are very cheap. You can find a taxi on most of the crossroads, next to the bus and tram stations, in front of the Central Railway station, the Central Bus Station, both Terminals of Sofia Airport, etc. there are cabs passing by every minute and you can just wave them and they stop and take you.There are 4800 officially approved by the Sofia Municipality taxi cars operating in Sofia. A small number of them (about 100 taxis) tend to overcharge the passengers and one of the methods is perfectly legal. By law every taxi company should define their own price and as long as the rates are clearly stated you can not complaint about being overcharged. Such cars are having a rate of 3.60 leva (1.80 EUR) per km. or a waiting fee of 5 leva per minute (2.5 EUR).  In order to avoid such expensive taxies the government and the municipality are requiring every taxi to have its unified price list listed as stickers to all door windows, to the wind shield and the dashboard of the car in front of the front passenger seat.

REMEMBER: Check the prices before you enter the car!

If you enter the car and then you notice that this is an expensive taxi, do not hesitate to tell the driver to stop immediately, pay him and then get a new cab. Do not wait until the final destination just because you are too shy.

In summer the scam taxi drivers tend to open all of the car windows as it is very hot and what they do is hiding the price lists that are on the rare windows. Just go and take a look at the front windshield before you enter the car.

Sometimes when you enter into the “expensive” taxi, the driver stats talking to you immediately, asking you questions, etc. so that he can distract you from the price list that is on the dashboard. Always take a look at the prices.

Another option is that the rates are normal, but the taxi driver “forgets” to turn the taxi meter on. Ask the driver to turn the meter on immediately. If you don’t the taxi driver will tell you a price which is higher then what you should pay for the ride. If he tells you there is some technical issues with the meter, tell him that you will get another taxi then.  You are not obliged to pay anything as there is no price on the taxi meter. (Do not think that if you reach your final destination and the taxi meter does not show anything you can not pay. Some of those drivers get aggressive and sometimes they call their colleagues over the radio to help them)

Most of those so called “fake” taxis are counting on finding customers that are not from Sofia, that is why they tend to wait for customers near the train station, the central bus station, the airport and next to the major hospitals. In order to stop this kind of scam the Sofia Airport and the Central Bus Station have a contract with the biggest and most reliable taxi companies in Sofia – OK SuperTrans. Their cars are handling all passengers from those locations, however the Central Railway Station does not have such contract and all taxis are allowed to take passengers from there and this is where the biggest concentration of “expensive” and “fake” taxis is.

If you are to travel from Sofia Railway Station by taxi follow this rules:

  • Do not trust people in the waiting hall asking you if you need a taxi
  • Do not enter into a car not marked as taxi (the yellow color is not enough)
  • Always check the prices listed on the windows and the front wind shield
  • Make sure the taxi meter is turned on
  • Do not believe that there is a flat rate fee
  • Central Bus Station is 100 meters on the left side of the train station if you go there, there are only real OK SuperTrans taxis. You can get a cab from there just to be sure.

Although OK SuperTrans is a reputable company there was a recent discovery that some of the company drivers are overcharging the passengers from Sofia Airport lying that there is a flat rate fee of 20 – 40 EUR from the Airport to the center. They are not turning the taxi meter and giving the customers fake invoices issued by a non existing company.  This is absurd as there are signs in the airport stating that a taxi ride to the center should not cost more then 3 EUR (as far as I can remember).

If a driver tells you that there is a flat rate fee, tell him to stop, take his car number (it is written on the price stickers) and call the taxi company (you have the number on the price stickers) or get back to the airport, there is OK SuperTrans office and file a complaint on that particular driver.

Beware of the following Taxi scam. Many of the “expensive” taxis are using names and logos that look like the logo and the name of OK SuperTrans. Names like OK SuperChance, OK SofiaTrans, OK ExtraTrans, OK VelirSim, CK SuperTrans, CK Something, etc. They count on the fact that the customers know the brand and its prices and they won’t take a look at the price list. Always check the prices before you enter the car.

At Sofia Airport Terminal 2 there are two road lines. The inner which is next to the airport entrance is allowed only for public transportation, hotel shuttle vans and OK SuperTrans taxis. The second one on the outside of the airport is allowed for everybody.  “Fake” taxis are not allowed to stop there so what they do is passing by really slow hoping that somebody will wave them. Or sometimes when they see a lot of people going out from the airport, they stop next to the zebra crossing and open their trunks so that it is easy for a passenger to put his/her luggage in. Should I tell you that the rare windows are usually open so no prices can be seen?

And last scam is the so called “pumps” which allow the taxi driver to pump up your bill while you are not looking. This is absolutely illegal and the police, traffic police and all institutions are running regular checks for such devices. There are just a few cars with “pumps” so in general you should not worry about this. The chance is 0.001% to get in such cab.  If you think you might be a victim of such scam take the car number and call the police to report it.

Summary: The taxi services are cheap and reliable. There is a small percentage of scam taxi drivers, but if you check the prices before you enter the car and avoid the usual lies you won’t be overcharged.

Check out the taxi companies in Sofia that we recommend and call the company directly to order a cab.