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Local Transport

Taxi

Taxis, which must be painted yellow and equipped with working meters, can be flagged down on most streets in every city and town throughout Bulgaria. They can be very cheap, but rates do 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’s windows. These rates are divided into three or four lines:

  • The first line lists the rate per kilometre from 6am to 10pm (about 0.60 lv to 0.80 lv per kilometre is average), and the night-time rate (sometimes the same, but often about 10% more).
  • The second lists, if applicable, the call-out fee (of about 0.50 lv) if you preorder a taxi (rarely necessary).
  • The third line lists the starting fee (0.30 lv to 0.50 lv).
  • The final line lists the cost for waiting per minute (0.15 lv to 0.30 lv).

Some drivers 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 congregate outside airports, train and bus stations and big city centres and in the resorts along the Black Sea coast. Negotiating a flat fare only makes sense if you are asking for a multistop journey, or if waiting time needs to be factored into a day trip by taxi.

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.