Cheap and often reeking of cigarette smoke, Sofia's close to 4800 yellow taxis are literally everywhere.
Here is all the information you will need to help you travel around Sofia by taxi.
SOFIA TAXI FARES
Most taxi companies in Sofia operate under very similar rates.
Order by phone: 0.70 lv
Initial fare: 0.70 lv
Each km (6am-10pm): 0.79 lv
Each km (10 pm – 6am): 0.90 lv
Each 1 minute of waiting time: 0.22 lv
A taxi ride within the city center will costs around 6 lv (€ 3) and fares within the city limits rarely exceed 15 lv (€ 7.5).
Hail a cab from the street or order one by phone or via a smartphone app for a surcharge of under 1 lv.
SOFIA TAXI COMPANIES
OK Supertrans taxi in Sofia
With a large fleet OK Supertrans taxis are easy to come by. They are the only taxis authorized to pick up passengers from Sofia Airport and the Central Bus Station.
To order call +359 2 973 21 21 or dial 1 TAXI (1 8294) from a mobile with a Bulgarian SIM card.
With a new fleet of over 800 cars and growing, Yellow taxis are a good option.
To order call +359 2 91119 or +359 2 4911108 or dial 1219 from a mobile phone with a Bulgarian SIM card.
All Green Taxis are hybrids and the rates are about 30% higher than the standard “Yellow” rate.
To order call +359 2 810 810 or +359 878 810 810
Download TaxiMe, a free application for iPhone and Android to your smartphone to order a taxi in Sofia.
TaxiMe works with selected drivers and dispatches newer vehicles with non-smoking drivers, who charge the standard taxi rates in Sofia. You receive an estimate for the cost of your trip in advance and can later rate your driver to influence the future selection of drivers.
You don't need to say where you are as your location, as well as the location of the taxi are plotted using GPS.
English and Bulgarian versions of the app are available.
Download the App here:
The so called "fake taxis" are not as big of a problem as they used to be just a few years ago but still be on the lookout.
"Fake" taxis are intentionally made to closely resemble the cars of legitimate companies with OK Supertrans being the most commonly coppied look. Watch out for cars with names like "OK Superchance", "OH Citytrans" and so on.
A "fake" taxi resembling OK Supertrans cab but charging twice the rate is waiting next to Sofia Central Railway Station.
Fake taxis usually wait around popular tourist spots such as hotels, shopping malls and, until several years ago, the airport. Cases of tourists paying up to 10 times the regular fare have been reported.
Recent regulations have put a cap on taxi tariffs at 1.30 lv/km (6 am-10 pm) and 1.6 lv per km (10 pm – 6 am) or about double the regular fares.
SOFIA TAXI TIPS
All taxis in Sofia are metered. If a driver propositions you with a fixed rate, you will probably end up paying extra. A taxi ride within the city should rarely exceed 10 lv.
Drivers often refuse to take passengers on short trips. This is less of a problem if you hail a cab from the street or order one by phone.
All taxis (including “fakes”) are obliged to have their tariffs posted on a sticker on the backseat window and the dashboard (in Bulgarian). If the sticker is not there or you see a tariff over 1 lv, do not get in the cab.
Once you are sure you are in a legitimate taxi, there are only two other ways you can be cheated. The driver can inflate the rate with the help of a small device hidden under the dashboard or take a longer route.
In both cases, you can end up paying up to double the normal rate. However, since taxis in Sofia are cheap and the distances are short, it may be easier to let go.
Call the police if you feel the taxi bill is inflated. Bear in mind that if the taxi has posted its rates on the side window, you will not have a case.