Untangling Bucharest Traffic

It is said that if you know how to drive in Bucharest, you know how to drive anywhere in the world. While that may be debatable, what's sure is that Bucharest has its unique place in Europe when it comes to driving and parking.

Published by Guest on 26/11/2014

Although traffic shares some similarities with other capital cities form this part of Europe (Sofia, Athens, Kiev, Budapest etc.), anyone who spent even a few days in Romania's capital say that driving here is like no other place in the world. Is that something good or bad, you may ask. Well, in order to try and answer that, here's a short guide to Bucharest driving and parking: UntanglingBucharestTraffic_Citinerary_bucharest-4 First of all - the rules. Rules of driving that is. Of course, we have legislation that regulates driving. The only difference is that many drivers choose to consider the rules...uhm...optional. "Was that traffic light red? Oh, I'm sorry officer, I was busy texting someone on my phone and I must have missed it. Oh, I can't use my phone while driving? I thought that applied only for when you're driving over 100 km/h and I was only doing 80. What do you mean there's a speed limit? Really now, who has time to make all these rules?" While there may be many drivers bending the rules in Bucharest, the majority of them do obey the law. But don't be shocked if you see cars passing by red lights. Maybe those drivers really don't like the color, so they don't want to stare at it for a few minutes. Or maybe they're just hungry, who knows. UntanglingBucharestTraffic_Citinerary_bucharest-12 Taxi drivers. Oh yes, they are considered to be the black sheep of all major cities. It's ironic how we all love a taxi driver who's fast and knows how to get through traffic quicker than others when we're a client in a hurry, but we suddenly hate them when we're drivers and share the streets with them. Bucharest cabbies are probably the best of their breed. You can even call them wizards. Only magic can explain how they manage to squeeze through the bustling traffic better than any other car out there. If they were to choose an alternate job, rally driving would be it. And what’s cool is that if you come here, you’ll have the opportunity to use the cab a lot. Bucharest has the cheapest taxis of all EU capitals. The standard fare is 35 euro cents per kilometer for a regular cab. If you want to indulge yourself in the luxury of a nice german limousine cab, you’ll have to pay between 80 cents to 1 euro per kilometer. UntanglingBucharestTraffic_Citinerary_bucharest-7 Public transportation. Bucharest has one of the largest public transportation networks in Europe. Thousands of buses, trolleys and trams take you virtually anywhere you need to go. The complexity of the network is so high, that you can never find yourself more than 5-10 minutes of walking distance away from a station. The problem in Bucharest is that buses, trolleys and even trams have the natural tendency of getting stuck in traffic... a lot. Especially during rush hour. All lines have schedules where they indicate the minimum and maximum waiting times. But the maximum waiting time can be... well, relative. It usually depends on traffic. And maybe on the alignment of planets. You could actually develop a business based on betting when the bus will come. UntanglingBucharestTraffic_Citinerary_bucharest At this point, German readers will be horrified and vow never to come to Bucharest. But don’t worry! We have a great subway system. And it works like a charm, carrying around 600.000 people daily. And one more great news: just like cabs, Bucharest public transportation is one of the cheapest in the EU: one ride with surface transportation costs 30 cents; a ride with the metro costs 45 cents. And a subscription for both surface transportation and the subway for a whole month costs around 25 euro. Students have it for half the price. You just can’t beat that. To be continued... (All imagery courtesy of Alin) - Alin

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