Bucharest’s notoriously awful taxi drivers have reportedly taken to underhand tactics in order to try and get rid of the competition: Uber. The ride-sharing app, which first appeared in the Romanian capital last year, has been gaining traction of late as more and more drivers hit the streets in order to meet increased demand. The days of not being able to find an Uber are now a thing of the past: only rarely will you see the dreaded ‘No cars available’ message when opening the app.

Feeling threatened, a few taxi drivers have reportedly taken the law into their own hands. This report from Pro TV claims that taxi drivers are ordering Ubers then having accomplices inform the police (with whom they are in cahoots) of their location. The police then stop the car in question (Ubers are unmarked, so difficult for the police to identify) and – for the first offence – give the Uber drivers a warning. If they are caught a second time they could face large fines, if it is proven that what they are doing is providing a taxi or hire car service.

If you are yourself ever in an Uber that gets stopped by the police, do the driver a favour and tell the copper he’s your mate. There is then nothing the police can do. Meantime, boycott Bucharest’s taxis. The shysters.

  • Mr Rearguard

    A couple of years ago I took a taxi in Iasi and got chatting away with the driver (mid 50’s, smartly dressed and knew shitloads of Romanian history etc) and when we got to my destination he refused to accept any payment. So there you go Bucharest Taxi drivers, fookin ‘ave sum ov dat! It’s not all about money in life you know!.

  • Parmalat

    Well… it’s not illegal if it’s done legally. And if it’s done legally, it costs a lot. And if it costs a lot, it may not be competitive.

    And right now UBER costs a lot for their drivers, that’s why the number of cars has dropped. In fact there are some analysis made by Bucharest drivers on forums which show that under current prices of 1.39 lei / km UBER drivers are likely incurring long term losses.

    Also there was a bonus scheme under which drivers were awarded money by the company, depending on the number of rides they did each week. Last year in May the biggest bonus was around 500 RON for 70 rides in a week.

    Since then, these rewards dropped sharply and right now there are no more rewards being given by the company to its drivers so they have to rely solely on what they can make on the street.

    Unless the price rises, there will be little interest from drivers to join UBER in such a special city like Bucharest, where one can witness vehicle depreciation at it’s finest…

  • Richard

    It always surprises me seeing it treated as an article of faith that Bucharest taxi drivers are a bunch of dangerous crooks. In over twenty years of visiting Bucharest I have taken scores of cabs at all times of day and from all parts of town, and never once had a problem. I even had a lost wallet returned – intact and still full – by one driver a few years ago.

  • Uber can FRO

    There’s little difference between Ponta et al stealing from the state, and an uber driver failing to register and pay taxes. The only difference is that of scale.
    An uber driver is not only failing to pay tax, but additionally removing tax revenue since they are stealing customers from other drivers.
    You should not be promoting an illegal activity.

    • Uber drivers do pay taxes: they pay tax on income as either PFAs – self-employed – or as a Srl, and they also have to pay VAT.

      • Orwell is not a manual

        Do taxis trigger you autism or something? You know as well as anyone that there are additional fees and licenses involved.

  • chris

    i disagree… it is not really correct anymore that the times of “no cars available” are gone. I used uber several times daily (x and select) and since their price change a few weeks ago, my waiting times for uberx average 15 minutes (and their drivers are meanwhile too often just slightly better than normal taxi drivers) and uber select is, no matter which part of the city I am in, 80% of the time just not available. or if it shows as available, after a few minutes of waiting while requesting I just receive a “sorry, no cars available”.
    so for me it is unfortunately no longer a good, reliable service, since a few weeks.. and they were the best!
    taxify though is usually available fast and comparable to uberx half a year ago. (but they dont issue legally valid invoices, unfortunately)
    so im currently using black cab and when it has to be fast clever taxi. unfortunately clever taxi now also has pelicanul taxis…
    I wonder why uber didn’t already fix their current problem, I can imagine they loose lots of customers and drivers…

    • Parmalat

      They can’t fix anything, it’s all down to taxation.

      Europe is not like the US. In Europe you have to pay VAT. You may be VAT exempt under certain conditions, but still you have to register a company and work for UBER as a company, not as an individual.

      Registering a company bears costs of its own, separate from the taxes that you (now) DO HAVE TO PAY and separate from the legal compliance issues that you (now) DO HAVE TO SOLVE.

      So there are 2 alternatives for UBER:

      1. Include all taxes and compliance costs and raise the price to maybe 3 lei or 3.5 lei / km

      2. Get the f*ck out of Romania before the authorities arrest your managers for tax evasion (like they did in France)

      • chris

        all the invoices I received from uber came from Romanian companies.. assuming they pay their taxes they could just raise the prices again, drivers (x and select) would be available again and maybe even earn a bit more money.
        the prices are anyway crazy low. it is funny that people feel ripped off when they accidentally catch a 3.5 lei taxi somewhere in Bucharest, not realizing that they still got one of the best taxi prices in Europe.
        amd i dont think they have to introduce the crazy high western European prices and make sure the average person can’t use a taxi anymore.

    • Clever Taxi

      Hi, Chris!
      Lately we went through a major changes of our politics concerning the drivers. Now we want to offer the best drivers no mater their taxi company. The person is more important than a logo. Ratings became our main priority, we investigate every single one of them, and we make sure we keep in our app only the drivers that offer a good experience to our users.
      Clever Taxi team

  • Marius

    Here are 4 things Romanian taxi drivers should spend their time and energy on:

    1. Not smoke and talk on 2 different phones while driving at 80 km/h through the city.
    2. Turn down the sound (or rather noise) level of manele.
    3. Not spit and swear at other drivers and pedestrians in traffic.
    4. Observe at least 50% of all traffic signs, and 100% of all traffic lights encountered during a trip.

    This would bring satisfaction levels up by at least 80%. 😀

    • Parmalat

      Are you a moron or just trolling?

      • Marius

        I feel safer driving with my eyes closed or having a monkey as a driver than taking a taxi in Bucharest. So what do you think?

        • Parmalat

          I’m a person who has been spending around $150 a month on taxis in Bucharest in the last 5 years and you wouldn’t want to know what I think about the absurdities that you wrote above.

          I had more road events while I was walking to the supermarket than in the thousands of taxi rides that I took in and around Bucharest.

          I was able to give up my personal car because the taxi service in Bucharest does the job for less hassle and less money, day and night.

          You sound like a very ignorant person, speaking about things that you know very little about.

          • Marius

            You are right: taking the taxi in Bucharest is a very pleasant experience. Thank you for opening my eyes and mind, I don’t know what I would have done without your advice. I should start spending more money on taxis right away. http://metropotam.ro/La-zi/povestea-tanarului-care-a-fost-batut-de-un-taximetrist-de-la-taxi-meridian-in-centrul-bucurestiului–art0487978929/

            • Parmalat


              I read the story, I find it kind of funny.

              It’s about a typical hipster with little to no social skills, but with a big mouth. I would have beaten him too, just for the sake of it.

              This type of social mollusk appeared when military service was abolished in Romania. As a result – common sense and discipline were replaced with entitlement. Hipsters believe everything that flies is meant for them to eat.

              The rest of us – normal people – will simply ask the driver if he is available, before jumping in his car…

              • Marius

                And that concludes my demonstration of why you and taxi drivers get so well together. 🙂 Unfortunately, many tourists also feel “entitled” to expect polite taxi drivers when they come to Bucharest, only to discover their bill for the ride is about 10 times more than a normal bill.

                In the past 2 months, I have witnessed:

                * taxi driver peeing on another person’s car in the parking lot.
                * taxi driver swearing and spitting a female driver for not allowing him to make an illegal U-turn on a crowded 4-lane road.
                * taxi driver forcing a German exchange student to pay 50 euro for a trip that normally costs no more than 5 euro. She got out of the car in tears.

                I have made it a habit to report these cases to the respective taxi companies, as well as to the police. But I guess I am just entitled, a consequence of not doing any military service in my life.

                • Parmalat

                  First of all, you should mind your own business and stop interfering in situations which don’t concern you. It will take a lot of pressure off your brain.

                  And second, (if you didn’t do any military service) bring your nose down from the sky, leave arrogance and entitlement aside and everybody will respect you.

                  I get along with taxi drivers because I respect them and they respect me.

                  Or keep being an arrogant and entitled hipster and one day a taxi driver might pee on you instead of somebody’s car.

                  There’s a reason for which there aren’t any hipsters in muslim countries, for example…


                  And don’t forget to tip 10% at the end of the ride. That’s what civilized people with social skills do. Only peasants and villagers don’t tip the taxi driver.

                  • Richard

                    “First of all, you should mind your own business and stop interfering in situations which don’t concern you.”

                    An admirable policy. When are you going to apply it to your own attitudes to who other people can or cannot sleep with and/or marry?

                    • Parmalat

                      Did I stick corks in their asses or what do you mean by that?

                    • Parmalat

                      It’s my right to demand legal taxation for activities that I think are noxious to the society. That doesn’t mean I tax them myself.

                      My solution for homosexuality (worldwide, not only in Romania):

                      1. Introduce tax on homosexuality

                      2. Have everybody who is a homosexual file a statement of homosexuality; as of that date, they will pay a monthly tax

                      3. The ones who won’t file but are caught doing homosexual activities, should pay the tax from the date it was introduced + penalties for failing to file on time

                      4. Enforce the tax by controlling homosexual clubs, NGOs and cultural events; the ones who are being caught attending should be checked against the ANAF database for up to date taxation

                      Do that and homosexuality will disappear in 6 months from the face of the Earth.

                      How do we pass that law? It’s simple: REFERENDUM! Everything is 100% legal.

                    • Richard

                      First of all, you should mind your own business and stop interfering in situations which don’t concern you.

  • Parmalat


    Prolong their agony… they will be out anyways, as soon as BEPS rules kick in. It may take another 1 or 2 years and then they will be required to pay TAXES (!!!).

    Which will level the playing field and force them to compete for market share with traditional taxi companies.

    Right now it seems that UBER drivers can hardly make up for their expenses, as bonuses which they initially received were slashed to zero.

  • Bog

    So… You’re saying… Help the driver break the law. Uber drivers get fined because they are part of an illegal service. Yes, the taxis in Bucharest are awful, but knowingly encouraging something illegal is not the solution. You huff and puff against the corrupt politicians, bureaucracy, and so on, but use an illegal service because it’s convenient.