Following the recent sexual assault and murder of a young Japanese woman, who was picked up by an illegal taxi at Bucharest’s Otopeni airport, the government has announced new security measures. PM Victor Ponta has fired national airport chief Cornel-Constantin Poterasu and extra security will monitor taxis operating at Bucharest’s international airport.
The suspect Vlad Nicolae has been implicated in other violent sexual assaults. Although the tragedy of the young woman’s death is highly unusual in Romania, the unscrupulous rip off taxi drivers are commonplace and, sadly, are often the first experience visitors have of the country. Normally no violence is involved and unwitting visitors are simply charged an exorbitant rate for the trip into the city center.
Anyone planning a visit to Romania can avoid problems at Bucharest’s Otopeni Airport by following a few simple guidelines. First, say no to any taxi touts actively hustling for business. Look for the official taxis parked directly outside the airport building. Only official taxis can park right outside the terminal, so as a general rule of thumb, anyone who is parked further away is likely to be an unofficial taxi driver.
Fares of cabs parked outside the terminal are higher than if you order a cab by phone, but you will have to walk outside the airport a bit to take the cab you ordered, which is usually priced RON 1.3 to RON 1.6 per kilometer. Higher fares are at RON 3 to RON 4.5 per kilometer. Going to the departures area and picking up a cab that just left a client is also an option.
The other alternative is to take the express bus 783, which runs from outside the domestic arrivals entrance and costs only RON 7 (or some EUR 1.5).
Liam Lever, email@example.com