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Local Transport

Minibus

  • Private and public buses and minibuses ply routes between smaller villages, eg along the Black Sea coast and between urban centres and ski resorts in winter. Tickets for minibuses cost roughly the same as for public buses but are usually bought from the driver. Destinations (in Cyrillic) and, often, departure times are indicated on the front window. Most minibuses leave from inside, or very close to, the major public bus station.
  • In Sofia, minibuses called marshroutki run between the city centre and the suburbs, acting like shared taxis.
  • Most Bulgarian towns have cheap and efficient public bus services that tend to be quite crowded, as this is how most locals get around.
  • Trolleybuses also operate in several city centres, drawing their power from overhead cables. They tend to be priced similarly to standard city buses.

Taxi

Taxis, which must be equipped with working meters, can be flagged down on most streets in every city and town throughout Bulgaria. They can be cheap, but rates vary. Taxis can be chartered for longer trips at negotiable rates, which you can approximate by working out the distance and taxi rate per kilometre, plus waiting time.

All drivers must clearly display their rates on the taxi window. These are usually divided into three or four lines:

  • One line lists the rate per kilometre from 6am to 10pm (0.70 lv to 0.80 lv), and the night-time rate (typically about 10% more).
  • Another line lists the call-out fee (usually 0.70 lv) if you preorder a taxi.
  • A third line lists the starting fee (from 0.70 lv to 0.90 lv).
  • A final line lists the cost of waiting per minute (usually 0.20 lv to 0.35 lv).

Some drivers may try to overcharge unwary foreigners by claiming the meter ‘doesn’t work’ (it must work by law) or offering a flat fare (which will always be at least double the proper metered fare). Dishonest drivers tend to congregate outside airports, train and bus stations, city centres and resorts along the Black Sea coast. If anything seems fishy, simply decline the ride and look for another vehicle.