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Romania has a fair share of scams, but please keep in mind that 99,9% of the people are wonderful and hospitable and will go out of their way to make you at home in their great country - much more than most Westerners would do!
Scams encountered in Bucharest include:
- dishonest taxi drivers at the train or bus station and the airport (common to most cities) that overcharge wildly. Or take the newly arrived traveller to a hostel and kindly taking a week's rent "in advance" from a naive tourist.
- false policemen that stop the tourist by flashing what apparently is an ID card (i.e. a bus pass) asking for his or her passport and wanting to "check your wallet". You’ll get it back emptier. Sometimes this is preceded by someone asking the time or wanting to "change money". Solution: Just walk on, demand to be taken to a police station or scream.
- pickpockets who are experts in slitting open your bag or t-shirt (!) with a knife to grab valuables without you noticing it. Avoid crowded buses, or if you must take one, stand in the front near the driver with your back against the wall.
Bucharest public transportation uses only electronic cards instead of paper tickets since 2011 (buses, trams and trolley-buses). Bus cards can be purchased from grey round booths labeled RATB, which you cannot find at every stop. The empty rechargeable card costs 3.7 lei (thats 0.85 euro). One trip on the bus costs 1,3 lei (0.30 euro). You must charge your card when you buy it and the cost of each trip will be substracted from the amount on the card each time you validate it on the bus at the orange devices. After each validation on the bus, the device will show the amount left on your card. You may use one card for more than one person, but it's tricky and it's safer if each person has his/her own card.Ticket inspectors will sometimes come on the bus and check the cards. The fine for not having a validated card is 50 lei (about 12 euros) which is best to pay on the spot and avoid any hassle. Make sure to check the inspector's ID card carefully.
Since November 2012, RATB and Metrorex introduced the unique ticket. A 5 lei charge (around 1.1 euro) will allow you to take every bus or for entering to subway for 60 minutes. For 30 lei (around 6.6 euro) you can have a 10 trips ticket with 60 minutes for each trip. A one day pass cost 16 lei (about 3.5 euro).
Metro cards are sold in every station and you validate it each time you enter the station. A 2-trip card costs 4 lei (about 1 euro) and a 10-trip card costs 15 lei (3.3 euros). A one day pass cost 6 lei (1.5 euro). Monthly pass will cost you 50 lei -around 12 euro- for 62 trips or 60 lei - around 13.5 euro - for unlimited trips.
The usual (and lowest) taxi fare in Bucharest is 1.39 lei/km (0.35 euro). You will not be able to get this fare at the airport because the taxis there have to be licenced to park at the airport. The usual fare at the airport taxis is 3.3-3.5 lei/km (0.80 euro). All taxis have a "start fare" which is always the price of one km. The "wait" fare (when the taxi is not moving) is usually the fare times 10 per hour (13.9/hour) so don't panic if you see this fare on the meter when the taxi waits at the red light. It is a legal requirement that taxis have their fares displayed on the front passenger door. Always check the fares before taking the taxi. Always check the meter. If you feel you are being ripped off, ask the driver to pull over, pay him and find another taxi.