A post that could be subtitled ‘Why on earth do we bother?’
Chances are that if you ask any of the founders of In Your Pocket why, nearly two decades ago, they decided to start publishing a guide to Vilnius, a city which had at the time no telephone directory, one of their answers would be: ‘To help people avoid paying £100 for a ten-minute taxi ride.‘
While it is perhaps disconcerting that the need to help people avoid paying extravagant amounts for short taxi rides in this part of the world is still valid almost 20 years on, the fact remains that the practice does still go on, and as such we continue to publish a number of warning texts both on the Bucharest In Your Pocket website and in the print guide about how to make sure you do not get ripped off by unscrupulous taxi drivers in Bucharest.
Knowing that Bucharest was to be invaded by Manchester United fans this week ahead of last night’s match against Otelul Galati, we even prepared a special page, Bucharest For Football Fans. We warn people about taxis in the text twice.
We then spent much of Monday reposting on Twitter a number of Bucharest Life posts about dodgy taxis.
Scam City? Hardly, but a fool and his money are easily parted, in Bucharest as easily as anywhere. You just need to be careful, do a bit of research (like finding out how far the stadium is from the city centre) and employ a bit of common sense.
Now we can, if we try hard enough, think of how a Bucharest taxi ride could cost £100, although the taxi would have to be a limousine with complimentary Veuve Clicquot and Elena Udrea lap-dancing for passengers in her underwear. As Ogden failed to mention any half-naked ministers of tourism in his tweet, he probably just chanced upon a shark of a taxi driver who tried his luck and who was probably amazed when Ogden paid up.
There is a school of thought that will insist the taxi driver is a complete shyster who has let down the city, and who is personally to blame for a journalist from a major UK newspaper leaving Bucharest with the idea that the Romanian capital is Scam City.
While we agree up to a point, this is only part of the story. We kind of think that people who get charged £100 for a ten-minute taxi ride need to take a little look at themselves too.
Or is that too harsh?