So as of this weekend getting a decent-priced taxi at Bucharest’s Gara de Nord is no longer a hassle. To be fair, for those in the know it never was. For new arrivals however – be they foreigners just off the Budapest train or Romanians arriving from elsewhere in the country – finding a taxi driver who would not shaft you could be a challenge. Well, the good news that those days are over.
As you get off a train you are now greeted by huge signs pointing you towards the official taxi station, directly outside the main entrance: ‘la coloane.’
In the past, the taxis you would find here were driven by some of the worst kind of shysters you could ever wish to meet, the kind of people would think nothing of taking pensioners newly arrived from Vaslui or wherever for every penny they had.
Now, the only taxis allowed to wait outside are from Meridan and Pelican, both of which charge 1.40 lei per km. Barriers at either end of the little concourse prevent other taxis entering.
Note, however, that at the far end of the concourse – just beyond the barrier – we did spot a few rogue taxis. It is highly unlikely anyone will see these taxis, however.
What we couldn’t work out was whether or not you have to get a ticket from the multi-lingual touch screens (similar to those at Otopeni) before jumping in a taxi. Given that nobody appeared to be using them, we assume the answer is no.
We should point out that Gara de Nord is on the metro, and that you are one stop from Piata Victoriei. Loads of buses stop right outside (just in front of the taxis, actually): the No. 123 gets you to Piata Unirii, No. 85 to Universitate. No. 780 goes to Otopeni Airport. Tickets (in the form of a Card Activ) from the kiosk next to the stop.
In less convenient CFR-related news, the CFR ticket agency on Strada Brezoianu, close to Piata Universitatii, has closed down. It was very handy of you wanted to buy tickets in advance and did not want to use the CFR website (which does not let you choose your seat) or go all the way to the station. The closest ticket agency to the centre of Bucharest is at Calea Grivitiei 139, next to the Ibis and Hello hotels: just a few metres from… Gara de Nord.