Bucharest’s Not Very Activ Card

For those of us who use public transport in Bucharest (be it out of necessity or simply for the hell of it) one of the most useful developments in recent years was the launch of the Activ Card: a kind of Oyster for Bucharest which could be loaded up with season tickets or simply pay-as-you-go credit and used on all forms of the city’s public transport network.

Well, all good things must come to an end, and it was announced today that as of April 14th the cards will no longer be valid on the metro. The reason is that RATB (which operates surface transport in Bucharest and which issues the cards) owes Metrorex (which operates the metro) as much as 20 million lei.

The joint RATB/Metro tickets valid for 60 minutes (which cost 5 lei) and 24 hours (which cost 16 lei) are also affected, and can no longer be purchased. For visitors to and residents of Bucharest alike it’s a return to the old days of separate tickets for bus and metro. How very 20th-century.

One easy solution to all this nonsense would be a little joined-up thinking at the Ministry of Transport: create a Transport for Bucharest umbrella organisation which would operate all forms of public transport in the capital (and, for good measure, look after taxi licenses/regulations). The authority would be overseen by the city council.

Simple, really, when you think about it. Perhaps that’s the problem.

  • Oofy Prosser

    We’d like to come to Bucharest in the Fall for a month, what is the transit pass situation these days?

  • Mr Rearguard

    Been fairly quiet this year. Have you decided to sack it Craig?

    • Roger

      @Mr Rearguard

      Agree with that to be honest, a bit of a shame as I imagine plenty read the site but with so little activity, the coversation and debate is lacking.

      Although we’ve still got Davina and her pearls of wisdom to look forward too!

  • What other European Union capital but Bucharest backtracks on progress and makes you have to buy separate tickets for the bus and the metro when they already have a card that does both?! That was my point. The way Romania continues to be run some 24+ years after the fall of the Warsaw Pact annoys and excites the hell out of me at the same time! I stepped over the line many years ago when I first visited Bucharest on a spring day in 2000 and I can never come back. I still have yet to reach the end of my obsession with Bucharest.

    • Roger


      You’re clearly not very well traveled if you think Bucharest is the only European Capital that ‘backtracks on progress.’ Various mind boggling acts occur across Europe and many good ones too, you never catch you mentioning them!

      I’m not defending what’s been done, it’s just I find your constant mocking of Romania and its people strange, considering you live there.

      If it’s as bad as you keep saying, then what the fvck are you still doing there?

      • Because I find America and Western Europe boring while I find Romania exhilarating! I like living outside of my comfort zone, being an outsider. It’s all about a search to find my true self. To be less a behavioral product of the culture where I grew up. To be free both in body and spirit. Bucharest allows me to be the person I really am. I’ve been permanently transformed by Romania. I love Romania too much and it pains me the way the country is mismanaged, stolen by corrupt ex-communits and Securitate who never face any judicial oversight. The Romanian people deserve much better! There’s a deep melancholic air to Romania and to the city of Bucharest that I find strangely romantic as if the people have been irrevocably wounded by the cruel forces of history.

        Not to bring any more bad news, but Bucharest seems poised to collapse!


        • Roger

          @Davina ”Because I find America and Western Europe boring while I find Romania exhilarating!”

          Can’t argue with that as it’s a reasonable view, but worryingly the rest of your post is a bit weird.

          Of course none of what you’ve said explains or can justify your constant mocking of Romanian people and their way of life.

          You contradict yourself as you give some praise and yet I’ve lost count of the amount of posts where you openly mock.

          I don’t think you’ve ‘found yourself’ yet Davina, keep looking!

          • I mock the ex-Secret police and second tier party operatives who still control the city Roger, not the Romanian people. Bucharest is the most backward EU capital because of the corrupt leadership, not because of the Romanian people.

            You can think what you want, but there is a very clear and real reason why I left America and moved to Bucharest and it’s about being free and living life to the maximum. Most Americans would never visit, let alone move to Romania. Bucharest is my mistress.

          • Roger


            If you’ve changed your ways then I applaud you.

            I hope we’ll see no more pictures from your camera where YOU take pictures of Romanian people without permission, and openly mock them. Much like the one of the mother at that train station, which you took with your camera.

            And sadly I can guarantee you’ll continue to post comments mocking Romania and its people and yet you choose to live there!

            Perhaps you don’t realise you’re doing it and this is the problem !

          • Roger: I am not sure what your deal is, but I, an American expat choosing to live in Bucharest am hardly mocking Romanians. The people mocking Romanians are the corrupt elites who drive modified Bentleys while having never worked an honest day in their lives.

            There’s nothing weird about what I was saying. There is a sort of melancholic romanticism to the way Bucharest’s fin de siecle buildings are falling apart and yet the women are dressed so well and look so great. There’s a dark, dark beauty and charm to Romania.

            That’s why I moved here. There’s an inordinate erotic energy to the city.

          • Roger


            My deal is I’ve read many of your posts on here and at times you mock/insult Romania and its people, this is a fact.

            You moan and whinge in some shape or form about Romania in every post, so I ask myself, what the hell are you doing here?

            Then you post this and it explains all …..

            ”There’s an inordinate erotic energy to the city.”

            So in other words you’re here for the women!

            Why didn’t you just say !!!

          • It’s not just the women. The country has an erotic charge for me. I find Bucharest itself to be like a mistress.

  • Roger

    I’m not condoning this, but from what I noticed, an awful lot of people don’t even bother to pay to ride on the buses. Including myself on one occasion when the little booths to buy a ticket were shut, but buses still in operation.

  • Mark Lee

    very disappointing news as I find the card tremendously useful on visits to Bucharest. Hope the decision gets reversed as it will make it more difficult to easily get around and just go where the mood takes you,

  • Bucharest remains the most backward European Union capital there is.

    • uitati va la papagalu asta…are tupeu sa i spuna vreunui roman in fata la o cafea asta?

      • Ethan

        To be fair to Davin, he chose to live in Bucharest and I think that speaks volumes. It is my own favorite city. I wouldn’t have used the term “backward”, I would have probably used “non conforming”. Either way, Bucharest has a way of being backward AND progressive, of surprising you just when you feel the most comfortable. For me it’s not an insult or criticism, but part of a complex and personal affinity.

        • he s here only for booty.

          • Giuseppe


          • he can t speak for jackshet romanian, he s here for a long time… a fokin fish.he s name is davin.

    • Roger


      Do you have a learning difficulty, genuine question?

  • Ayceman

    Technically RATB is a part of AMTB, which should be exactly that, but meh… I never really used the Activ Card on the metro anyway so I couldn’t care less.

  • and how would you want them to keep on stealing if you join the 2 “regii autonome”? Funny unrelated fact: Did you know that the former workers of Metrorex are treated the same as former CFR employees and even get a free international train trip a year?