Bucharest. Getting Around

Do you go for the Taxi or brave the public transport?

METRO

On arrival in Bucharest we took a taxi to our accommodation (I’ve talk about this in length in another blog post, here.) The next day, and our only full day in the city, we decided we would try and use the metro. We had heavily read up on it the night before so we walked to our closest stop, Obor.

Bucharest-Metro-Map-2013

This stop/station was quite small (as we only went to a few stations I’m not sure of their general size) there was a maned desk on one side and a touch screen computer on the other. As our use of Romanian was very small we opted for the machines where you could choose English as the language, along with a selection of other common languages. I would recommend this to any visitor with little confidence in speaking Romanian. However, one thing that caught us out with the machines was that is wouldn’t give an change and we only had a lot of large notes on us because we hadn’t bought much yet. So only use the machines if you have the correct change.

We were both completely shocked when we found on the price for a day pass, 6 Leu. Which converted to Pounds is just under One Pound! That is absolutely crazy! This is due to the government trying to get people to use the metro more as it is apparently under used. A little credit card sized piece of card gets printed off and you swipe that through the barriers to get to the platforms.

IMG_9635

The Metro at Izvor.

We were going to ‘The Palace of the Parliament’ whose stop was Izvor. We were on the yellow circle line, which was lucky for us so we couldn’t get too lost. It took us a few minutes to figure out which side of the platform to get on but we got there eventually. It didn’t take too long for a train to arrive and we were both surprised at how modern they were, they were built for a lot of people to ride them as there was a lot of standing space. However not too much sitting. There was a screen that told you what the next stop would be and an automated voice saying the stop too. This was great for us as we knew the name of the stop, we also counted how many stops till ours on the map before hand.

As we didn’t have much wifi it was difficult to find another metro stop during the day, so we just walked around instead so we could get more of a feel with the city. We found ourselves at Bucharest Mall at the end of the day and took the metro stop there, Unirii Square, back home. This was a much larger station but we just followed the colour of the line we wanted and it was incredibly simple.

TAXI

Like I said before I have spoken about taxis from the airport in this post.

We decided that we would stick to the metro for the majority of our time there. But when going back to the airport we would get another taxi as the metro is yet to run out there (there are plans for a line to be built to the airport but not sure of completion date.)

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 21.46.13

Screenshot from the StarTaxi app

After research online we found that a number of taxi companies have apps that you can request a taxi on. I can’t remember the app we had but after some research it looks like Star Taxi or CleverTaxi are the best. It is very similar to Uber where you can track the driver and the driver would track you. Unfortunately I didn’t have any internet on my phone and could only use wifi which made using the service very difficult. We would find wifi and order a taxi and then wouldn’t be able to find the taxi as when we walked away the taxi would be canceled. But after requesting and losing about 5 taxis we finally found ours. The driver spoke very little English but tried to communicate with us through simple terms to get a conversation going. The medium being football and that his favourite football player had the same name as my boyfriend!

It was much quicker than we expected, as this time we got it from the city center and much cheaper too. It was 12 Leu.

OVERALL

I would suggest for in the city use, the metro is the best option. It is incredibly cheap and relatively simple to use. The carriages are modern and you get to interact with the local people more.

Taxis are good but can be pricey if you get them wrong but are the best option from getting to the city from the airport. You can always brave the bus though!

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